At least 20 people were killed and around 70 others were injured when a Mexico City metro overpass collapsed on a road Monday evening, authorities said.
The accident, which occurred around 10:30 p.m. local time, trapped cars under rubble and passengers in wagons suspended in the air, video on social networks and Mexican television showed. Emergency teams worked to recover these passengers.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 49 of the injured were hospitalized and seven were in serious condition and undergoing surgery.
“There are unfortunately children among the dead,” Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many.
According to the Associated Press, the overpass was about 16 feet above the road in the southern borough of Tláhuac, but the train was passing over a concrete middle lane, which apparently reduced the number of victims among motorists on the road below.
“A support beam gave way,” Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it.
The Associated Press also reported that rescue efforts were briefly halted at midnight because the partially suspended train was “very weak” and a crane had to be brought in. There were still people stuck inside the train, but “we don’t know if they are. Alive,” Sheinbaum said.
City’s comprehensive risk management and civil protection agency said on twitter that the accident injured 70 in a preliminary assessment.
Alfonso Suárez del Real, secretary of the government of Mexico City, told Milenio Television the injured were being taken to hospitals. Facebook groups had already started building injury lists early on Tuesday.
Hundreds of police and firefighters cordoned off the scene in the southern district of Tlahuac, as desperate friends and relatives of those suspected of being on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter, reported the AP.
Oscar López, 26, was looking for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was taking the subway, returning from her dental job when her phone stopped answering when the accident happened.
“We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m. there was literally no contact,” López told AP.
Sheinbaum said on twitter that she rushed into the area where the video and photos showed at least one broken train.
“Firefighters, public safety personnel are working,” she tweeted. “Various hospitals present.”
The accident occurred on metro line 12, the construction of which was marred by complaints and accusations of irregularities. According to Reuters, the line was built when Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was the city’s mayor.
“What happened today with the metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity with the victims and their families,” Ebrard said on Twitter. “The causes must be investigated and the responsibilities defined. I reiterate that I am at the disposal of the authorities to help in whatever is necessary.”
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At least four million people use the Mexico City subway every day, which is the second largest in the Americas behind New York, according to the New York Times.
The Times also reported that a man was killed and more than 40 others injured in the collision of two subway trains in Mexico City in March 2020. Just five years earlier, in 2015, a train that had failed arrested in time had crashed into another, injuring 12 people.
Contributing: Charles Ventura, Steve Coogan, USA TODAY; The Associated Press