An elevated section of the Mexico City subway collapsed, sending a subway car crashing into a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 15 people and injuring about 70, city officials said.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 34 of the injured were hospitalized and that people were still trapped inside the train, which was split in two and suspended.
The video showed a car trapped under rubble with dozens of rescuers searching through wrecks from the collapsed structure. The transition was approx. 5 meters across the road in southern Mexico City.
“A support beam gave way,” Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it.
The rescue effort was briefly interrupted at midnight because the partially dangling train was “very weak”
“We do not know if they are alive,” Sheinbaum said of the people trapped inside the subway.
It is unclear whether most of the dead were in subway cars, or whether they were pedestrians or motorists trapped below.
Hundreds of police and firefighters cordoned off the site in the southern district of Tlahuac as desperate friends and relatives of people are believed to be on the trains gathered outside the safety line.
Oscar López, 26, was looking for her friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was riding the subway and returning from her job as a dentist when her phone stopped answering when the accident occurred.
“We lost contact with her at 22.50, there was literally no more contact, ”said López.
The crash occurred on the newest of the Mexico City subway lines, line 12, which extends far into the south side of the city. Like many of the city’s dozen metro lines, it runs underground through more central areas of the city of 9 million, but then runs on elevated, pre-formed concrete structures on the outskirts of the city.
The collapse could represent a major blow to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012 when line 12 was built. Questions about the quality of construction surfaced shortly after he left office as mayor.
Ebrard wrote in his Twitter account: “What happened today in the subway is a terrible tragedy.”
“Obviously, the causes should be investigated and those responsible identified,” he wrote. “I reiterate that I fully have the authority of the authorities to contribute in the way that is necessary.”
Mexico City Metro, one of the largest and busiest in the world, has had at least two serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago.
In March last year, a collision between two trains at Tacubaya station left a passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at Oceania Station, injuring 12 people.
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