Mexico City rail overpass collapses onto roadway, killing 24 and injuring 79

A train car could be seen still dangling from a highway overpass in Mexico City on Tuesday morning after an overnight collapse left at least 24 dead, including children, and 79 injured.

Rescue teams removed four dead passengers from a train wagon and continued to search through rubble for possible bodies, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said Tuesday afternoon.

At least one person was removed from a vehicle that was crushed by the debris, but Sheinbaum did not say whether the individual was alive.

Authorities have opened an investigation into the tragedy, which will include the attorney general’s office and an independent agency from Norway, the mayor added.

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed the government would not hide any details that come out of the joint investigation.

‘I share the outrage that there is, I celebrate the position that the head of government (mayor Sheinbaum) has, which is essentially to clarify what happened and secondly when you clarify what happened with evidence, with authorities, to establish what responsibilities there are, who has responsibility and what action was taken in consequence, no matter who it is,’ Obrador said.

‘There’s no impunity for anyone,’ he said.

Myriam Urzúa, Secretary of the Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection, said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that three of the victims died at local hospitals. Only five people have been identified.

Emergency workers set up two cranes to stabilize the support column where two trains remained dangling from the highway overpass following Monday night’s tragic accident.

One of the train cars could be seen lowered to a truck’s flatbed before midday Tuesday and was taken to a rail yard in the Mexico City borough of Tláhuac.

A surveillance video shows a Line 12 train was transiting through the overpass that connects the Olivos and Tezonco stations when the support column gave way around 10:30pm local time.

Suddenly one car plunged into the street while a second was left dangling precariously.

Video footage revealed the overpass runs down the middle of a four-lane highway, with two lanes going in either direction, that was full of traffic at the time.

Florencia Serrania, the general director for the Mexico City Metro Collective Transportation System, said an inspection report filed in January 2020 did not show any ‘anomalies’ throughout the Line 12 overpass. A second inspection was conducted following the June 2020 earthquake that struck the southern state of Oaxaca and was felt in the Mexican capital, but no structural damages were reported.

According to Urzúa, French firm SYSTRA recommended the continued supervision of the train line after it was shut down in 2014.  

Urzúa said that TCO, also a French company, has been contracted since 2016 to conduct daily inspections of the train line.

Mayor Sheinbaum said the firm did not provide any reports that would have raised concerns over a possible collapse.

On Tuesday, French train maker Alstom offered to help authorities in Mexico if necessary.

‘Alstom reiterates its willingness to cooperate with and to aid authorities responsible for investigations in any way necessary,’ the company said in a statement.

France’s Alstom SA was part of a consortium that built the metro line which suffered the collapse.

Service throughout Line 12, which transports an average of 220,000 passengers a day, has been completely suspended. 

An aerial view shows the site of a metro train accident after an overpass partially collapsed in Mexico City on Monday night.  At least 24 people were killed and 79 were injured. Two cranes were set up to support the elevated train line from plummeting to the ground. Two trains remained dangling from the tracks early Tuesday

An aerial view shows the site of a metro train accident after an overpass partially collapsed in Mexico City on Monday night.  At least 24 people were killed and 79 were injured. Two cranes were set up to support the elevated train line from plummeting to the ground. Two trains remained dangling from the tracks early Tuesday

An aerial view shows the site of a metro train accident after an overpass partially collapsed in Mexico City on Monday night.  At least 24 people were killed and 79 were injured. Two cranes were set up to support the elevated train line from plummeting to the ground. Two trains remained dangling from the tracks early Tuesday

Cable wires were place on a train car (left) to keep it from crashing to the ground while another wagon (right) dangles from the track

Cable wires were place on a train car (left) to keep it from crashing to the ground while another wagon (right) dangles from the track

Cable wires were place on a train car (left) to keep it from crashing to the ground while another wagon (right) dangles from the track

A train car is lowered from the collapsed train track and placed on a flatbed Tuesday morning

A train car is lowered from the collapsed train track and placed on a flatbed Tuesday morning

A train car is lowered from the collapsed train track and placed on a flatbed Tuesday morning

Rescue workers gather at the site of Monday night's train crash in Mexico City after a beam collapsed on Line 12. At least 24 people were declared dead and 79 have been injured and hospitalized. Authorities were working Tuesday to sift through rubble in search of additional bodies

Rescue workers gather at the site of Monday night's train crash in Mexico City after a beam collapsed on Line 12. At least 24 people were declared dead and 79 have been injured and hospitalized. Authorities were working Tuesday to sift through rubble in search of additional bodies

Rescue workers gather at the site of Monday night’s train crash in Mexico City after a beam collapsed on Line 12. At least 24 people were declared dead and 79 have been injured and hospitalized. Authorities were working Tuesday to sift through rubble in search of additional bodies

Rescuers rushed to the scene on Monday night and and quickly began searching the train for survivors, with seven people taken to hospital in ‘grave’ condition and requiring surgery.

But rescue efforts were soon halted amid fears the train was unstable and could collapse further, with people still trapped inside – though Sheinbaum said it was unclear if those people are alive or dead.

Meanwhile at least one person got trapped in their car underneath the bridge as chunks of concrete collapsed on to the road, but they were pulled out alive and taken to hospital.

Mexico City’s Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection said the injured included 60 men and 19 women, all of whom were hospitalized at over 18 medical facilities.

The youngest victim was identified as 15-year-old Tania Ledezma, who suffered a spinal fracture.

The Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection was unable to provide names for 13 of the injured people.

Marisol Tapia told Azteca TV that her son, Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to say he was on his way home. She had visited at least eight Mexico City hospitals in search of her child

Marisol Tapia told Azteca TV that her son, Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to say he was on his way home. She had visited at least eight Mexico City hospitals in search of her child

Marisol Tapia told Azteca TV that her son, Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to say he was on his way home. She had visited at least eight Mexico City hospitals in search of her child

Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to say he was on his way home before the train collapsed. It's unknown if he is among the injured or dead victims who have not been named by Mexico City authorities

Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to say he was on his way home before the train collapsed. It's unknown if he is among the injured or dead victims who have not been named by Mexico City authorities

Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to say he was on his way home before the train collapsed. It’s unknown if he is among the injured or dead victims who have not been named by Mexico City authorities 

At least 24 people have been killed, including children, and 79 more injured after a train overpass collapsed on to a busy highway in Mexico City around 10.30pm Monday

At least 24 people have been killed, including children, and 79 more injured after a train overpass collapsed on to a busy highway in Mexico City around 10.30pm Monday

At least 24 people have been killed, including children, and 79 more injured after a train overpass collapsed on to a busy highway in Mexico City around 10.30pm Monday

The overpass was about 16ft above the road in the southside borough of Tlahuac, but the train ran above a concrete median strip, which apparently lessened the casualties among motorists on the roadway below.

Sheinbaum said the support beam collapsed while the train was passing by.   

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter.

A distraught Marisol Tapia told Azteca TV that her son, Brandon Hernández, 12, had called her to inform her that he was on his way home with her boyfriend, who made it safely out of the train. 

Tapia said she visited at least eight Mexico City hospitals in search of her child, but officials would not tell her if her son was among the deceased. 

The Mexico City's Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection released a list with the names of the 79 people who were injured in the overpass collapse

The Mexico City's Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection released a list with the names of the 79 people who were injured in the overpass collapse

The Mexico City’s Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection released a list with the names of the 79 people who were injured in the overpass collapse

The Mexico City's Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection released a list with the names of the 79 people who were injured in the overpass collapse. It has yet to identify the victims who were declared dead

The Mexico City's Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection released a list with the names of the 79 people who were injured in the overpass collapse. It has yet to identify the victims who were declared dead

The Mexico City’s Secretary of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection released a list with the names of the 79 people who were injured in the overpass collapse. It has yet to identify the victims who were declared dead

A Line 12 train was crossing the overpass when a support column suddenly buckled, sending one car crashing on to the street below and leaving another dangling precariously over the roadway

A Line 12 train was crossing the overpass when a support column suddenly buckled, sending one car crashing on to the street below and leaving another dangling precariously over the roadway

A Line 12 train was crossing the overpass when a support column suddenly buckled, sending one car crashing on to the street below and leaving another dangling precariously over the roadway

Rescue workers make their way on to the train to help the wounded after two trains collapsed from an overpass track

Rescue workers make their way on to the train to help the wounded after two trains collapsed from an overpass track

Rescue workers make their way on to the train to help the wounded after two trains collapsed from an overpass track

Rescuers erect ladders to make their way inside the train carriages, before being temporarily called off amid warnings it is unstable and their movements could cause another collapse

Rescuers erect ladders to make their way inside the train carriages, before being temporarily called off amid warnings it is unstable and their movements could cause another collapse

Rescuers erect ladders to make their way inside the train carriages, before being temporarily called off amid warnings it is unstable and their movements could cause another collapse

Rescue workers are seen inside the train immediately after the accident, before they were called off due to safety fears

Rescue workers are seen inside the train immediately after the accident, before they were called off due to safety fears

Rescue workers are seen inside the train immediately after the accident, before they were called off due to safety fears

Firemen pull a body from rubble underneath the bridge, as Mexico City's mayor warned children are among the dead

Firemen pull a body from rubble underneath the bridge, as Mexico City's mayor warned children are among the dead

Firemen pull a body from rubble underneath the bridge, as Mexico City’s mayor warned children are among the dead

Rescue workers pull a body from one of the train carriages before work temporarily halted. Mexico City's mayor has warned that more people are still inside the train, but it is unclear if they are alive or dead

Rescue workers pull a body from one of the train carriages before work temporarily halted. Mexico City's mayor has warned that more people are still inside the train, but it is unclear if they are alive or dead

Rescue workers pull a body from one of the train carriages before work temporarily halted. Mexico City’s mayor has warned that more people are still inside the train, but it is unclear if they are alive or dead

Oscar López, 26, was searching for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26, who is six months pregnant. Salas was riding the subway home from her work as a dentist when her phone stopped answering around the time the accident occurred.

‘We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m., there was literally no more contact,’ López said. With little information and a still serious coronavirus situation in Mexico City, López said ‘they are not telling us anything, and people are just crowding together.’

‘Suddenly I saw that the structure was shaking,’ another unidentified witness told the Mexican television network Televisa. ‘When the dust cleared we ran… to see if we could help. There were no screams. I don’t know if they were in shock,’ she added. 

One man, José Martínez, told reporters that he had a miraculous escape because he was unable to leave work in time to catch the ill-fated train.

‘I was saved by like 15 minutes. It’s good that nothing happened to me,’ he said. 

The Mexico City subway has 12 lines and carries millions of passengers each day. 

The collapse occurred on the newest of the Mexico City subway’s lines, Line 12, which stretches far into the city’s southside. Like many of the city’s dozen subway 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 city’s outskirts. 

An aerial view of the collapsed bridge shows how the train fell on to the street below, killing 24 people

An aerial view of the collapsed bridge shows how the train fell on to the street below, killing 24 people

An aerial view of the collapsed bridge shows how the train fell on to the street below, killing 24 people

Passersby rush an injured man into an ambulance at the scene of the bridge collapse, in Mexico City's southeast

Passersby rush an injured man into an ambulance at the scene of the bridge collapse, in Mexico City's southeast

Passersby rush an injured man into an ambulance at the scene of the bridge collapse, in Mexico City’s southeast

A fireman takes a person on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace into a waiting ambulance in Mexico City

A fireman takes a person on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace into a waiting ambulance in Mexico City

A fireman takes a person on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace into a waiting ambulance in Mexico City

Rescuers transport an injured person on a stretcher near Olivos station in southeast Mexico City

Rescuers transport an injured person on a stretcher near Olivos station in southeast Mexico City

Rescuers transport an injured person on a stretcher near Olivos station in southeast Mexico City

Emergency workers carry an injured person away on a stretcher after a train overpass partially collapsed in Mexico City

Emergency workers carry an injured person away on a stretcher after a train overpass partially collapsed in Mexico City

Emergency workers carry an injured person away on a stretcher after a train overpass partially collapsed in Mexico City

Media stand at a police barricade barring access to the scene of Monday night's collapse that left 24 people dead and 79 injured

Media stand at a police barricade barring access to the scene of Monday night's collapse that left 24 people dead and 79 injured

Media stand at a police barricade barring access to the scene of Monday night’s collapse that left 24 people dead and 79 injured

The collapse could represent a major blow for Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who was Mexico City’s mayor from 2006 to 2012, when Line 12 was built.

Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after Ebrard left office as mayor. The line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired.

‘It is the most terrible accident we have had in the Collective Transport System,’ Ebrard said. ‘The first thing to do is show solidarity with the victims, a very sad day for everyone. The second thing I share the outrage there is.’

Ebrard agreed with Sheinbaum indicating authorities need to fully investigate the cause behind the tragic accident while adding that he would cooperate sharing any relevant information.

‘When you clarify with evidence or elements, responsibilities will be established … no matter who it is,’ he said.

It was not clear whether a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 could have affected the subway line.

The 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 one of the worst accidents on the network, two metro trains rammed into each other leaving 23 dead and 55 injured in October 1975.

The latest incident comes just over a year after two subway trains collided in Mexico City, leaving one dead and around 40 injured as panicked passengers escaped through dense smoke.

In another incident in January of this year, one person died and 29 suffered smoke inhalation injuries in a fire in the metro’s control center.

The latest accident comes at a time when Mexico is struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 217,000 people dead in the country – one of the world’s highest tolls.

Rescue workers carry a body out from underneath a train that collapsed on to a highway in Mexico City, killing 24 people

Rescue workers carry a body out from underneath a train that collapsed on to a highway in Mexico City, killing 24 people

Rescue workers carry a body out from underneath a train that collapsed on to a highway in Mexico City, killing 24 people

Emergency workers rushed to the site, in the southeast of Mexico City, but were temporarily called off amid warnings the train is unstable and could collapse further

Emergency workers rushed to the site, in the southeast of Mexico City, but were temporarily called off amid warnings the train is unstable and could collapse further

Emergency workers rushed to the site, in the southeast of Mexico City, but were temporarily called off amid warnings the train is unstable and could collapse further

Paramilitary workers holding rifles are seen near the scene of the collapse, as a cordon was set up to keep people away

Paramilitary workers holding rifles are seen near the scene of the collapse, as a cordon was set up to keep people away

Paramilitary workers holding rifles are seen near the scene of the collapse, as a cordon was set up to keep people away

An overhead view of the disaster site reveals how the train fell on to the road after the bridge gave way

An overhead view of the disaster site reveals how the train fell on to the road after the bridge gave way

An overhead view of the disaster site reveals how the train fell on to the road after the bridge gave way

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