May 13, 2021

Live Updates: Mexico’s President Vows Inquiry After Deadly Train Crash


A subway overpass collapsed Monday evening in Mexico Metropolis, sending the vehicles of a passenger practice plunging to the bottom and killing at the least 23 individuals and injuring 70 others.Credit scoreCredit score…Hector Vivas/Getty Photographs

MEXICO CITY — A metro overpass collapsed late Monday in Mexico Metropolis, sending the vehicles of a practice filled with passengers plunging to the bottom and killing at the least 23 individuals, together with youngsters, town’s mayor stated.

Emergency staff scrambled to a scene the place tilted practice vehicles lay amid tangled wires and twisted steel, pulling dozens of individuals from the wreckage and transporting greater than 70 individuals to hospitals with accidents.

Dramatic video of the incident confirmed the overpass all of a sudden collapsing in a bathe of sparks, sending up a cloud of particles as one of many practice vehicles smashed right into a car on the street beneath.

Within the chaotic aftermath, determined relations flocked to the scene for information of their family members, whereas others scoured metropolis hospitals in hopes of discovering their members of the family.

“I’m on the lookout for my son,” the mom of a 13-year-old boy instructed an area tv station by way of tears. “He was on the subway — I can’t discover him.”

Many households had been directed to the Belisario Dominguez Hospital, a few quarter of a mile away, the place they waited for updates on the victims.

Floodlights illuminated the collapsed bridge as search and rescue groups tried to search out survivors within the rubble. Ambulances, firefighters, the army and Mexico’s forensic division got here and went from the scene whereas a helicopter hovered overhead as daybreak broke.

By dawn on Tuesday, the seek for survivors had largely was a restoration operation, with 4 of the victims’ our bodies nonetheless trapped within the wreckage, in keeping with authorities officers.

“It’s unhappy information,” stated President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who vowed {that a} thorough investigation can be carried out. “We ship our condolences to the households of the victims of this accident.”

The crash occurred at 10:22 p.m. on one of many metropolis’s latest stretches of observe, Line 12, which was inaugurated in 2012. Native residents had expressed concern concerning the structural integrity of the overpass, together with cracks within the concrete, after a robust earthquake devastated components of town in September 2017.

Hernando Manon, 42, who lives within the space, stated that he was one in all many individuals who had observed cracks within the concrete after the earthquake. Though the cracks appeared to have been eliminated, he stated, he didn’t know the extent of any repairs.

Native officers didn’t deal with particular considerations within the speedy aftermath of Monday’s accident, however Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum stated that upkeep was carried out on the practice line on daily basis. The system as a complete has been affected by issues lately.

“At this second, we are able to’t speculate about what occurred,” Ms. Sheinbaum instructed reporters early Tuesday. “There needs to be a deep investigation, and whoever is accountable needs to be held accountable.”

Within the meantime, she stated, Line 12 would stay closed because the authorities examine the reason for the accident. Mexico Metropolis Metro suggested individuals to keep away from the world.

Ms. Sheinbaum didn’t rule out the potential for additional incidents on the broken practice line, and stated that the avenue that runs beneath the road can be shut down throughout an investigation.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s international minister, known as the crash a “horrible tragedy” in a Twitter put up late Monday. “In fact, the causes ought to be investigated and the duties for it outlined.”

Mr. Ebrard was mayor of Mexico Metropolis from 2006 to 2012, when the brand new line was constructed, and accusations of poor development and planning emerged virtually as quickly because it was opened. The road was closed briefly in 2013 for repairs.

Tons of of law enforcement officials and firefighters cordoned off the scene on Tuesday morning as relations and pals of individuals believed to have been on the practice gathered outdoors the safety perimeter to hunt data.

Rescuers with a person injured in the crash. Officials said at least 23 people died and 79 were hospitalized.
Credit score…Hector Vivas/Getty Photographs

Within the early hours of Tuesday morning, officers confirmed that at the least 23 individuals had died within the accident, together with quite a lot of minors. Authorities launched the names of greater than 70 injured individuals taken to native hospitals.

However for some, the seek for their family members was simply starting.

“I’m on the lookout for my son,” Marisol Tapia instructed reporters on the scene of the accident by way of sobs. “I can’t discover him wherever, in any of the ambulances.”

Hours later, her 13-year-old son, Brandon Giovani Hernández Tapia, was nonetheless lacking: Ms. Tapia and her mom had been rising determined, uncertain if he was lifeless or alive.

“I went to all of the hospitals and so they say he’s not there,” she instructed reporters gathered again on the crash website in a while Tuesday morning for a information convention with opposition politicians. “The metro wasn’t constructed on it’s personal — this flaw has been there for a very long time and nobody did something.”

On social media, households looked for any scrap of stories about lacking individuals. Particulars of these injured started to emerge, however the lifeless remained unnamed. 4 our bodies had been trapped inside one of many practice carriages, in keeping with Mexico Metropolis Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

“All of the help might be given to the victims,” Ms. Sheinbaum stated throughout a morning information convention, noting that 15 of the lifeless had but to be recognized. “Our solidarity with all of the members of the family who misplaced somebody.”

A complete of 79 injured individuals had been taken to hospitals, in keeping with Ms. Sheinbaum, two of whom later died. 5 of the injured had not but been recognized, the mayor stated, however amongst these hospitalized had been three minors and three aged individuals.

Some witnesses to the occasion had been additionally injured.

“I used to be going to my mom’s home and a big stone fell on me,” Esmeralda Serrano, 21, who lives in a neighborhood close to the place the crash occurred, instructed El País, a Spanish-language newspaper.

Late on Tuesday morning, cries for assist to search out the lacking had been nonetheless pouring onto social media, whereas the hashtag #NosFaltan23 or ‘We’re lacking 23’ turned a rallying cry.

“Associates I would like your assist, we are able to’t discover her (Nancy Lezama Salgado),” wrote one person on Twitter. “She was additionally on the subway, we’ve solely discovered her sister, please share.”

Authorities officers, together with those that had been concerned within the deadly subway line’s development and upkeep, despatched their condolences to the households of the victims.

“It’s the most horrible accident we now have ever had,” stated Marcelo Ebrard, the nation’s international minister who was mayor when the now-collapsed line was first constructed, at a information convention. “A really unhappy day for Mexico Metropolis, for everybody.”

An overpass in Mexico Metropolis collapsed on Monday evening, sending a packed practice plummeting to the road, killing and injuring scores of individuals.

Mexico City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, center left, in March.
Credit score…Cristian Leyva/NurPhoto, through Getty Photographs

Their rivalry has lengthy been a topic of hypothesis by pundits, and on Tuesday, two of Mexico’s brightest political stars had been within the highlight for all of the incorrect causes.

After the lethal subway practice crash in Mexico Metropolis, public anger on Tuesday turned towards town’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, and a former mayor who’s now Mexico’s international minister, Marcelo Ebrard.

Each are extensively seen as potential successors to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“Completely nothing might be hidden,” Mr. López Obrador stated at a information convention on Tuesday morning. “The individuals of Mexico should know the entire reality.”

However even because the president spoke, the political fallout was evident at his information convention. Each Ms. Sheinbaum and Mr. Ebrard confronted harsh questioning from reporters: she for the potential failure to detect faults that led to the lethal crash, and he for overseeing the development of a subway line affected by accusations of mismanagement and corruption.

Publicly, at the least, the 2 political heavyweights offered a united entrance.

“We’re in settlement to unravel this and work collectively to search out the reality and know what brought on this incident,” stated Ms. Sheinbaum, who prevented blaming any authorities figures for the accident.

Mr. Ebrard, requested whether or not he feared being held in the end accountable for the tragic accident, denied any wrongdoing and stated he would cooperate with the investigation.

“When you’ve got nothing to cover, you don’t have anything to concern,” he stated. “Like anybody else, I’m topic to regardless of the authorities decide, however much more in order a high-level official, as somebody who promoted the development of the road.”

Mr. Ebrard was mayor of Mexico Metropolis from 2006 to 2012, and the subway line, often called the Golden Line, was one of many landmark tasks of his administration.

The crash occurred a month earlier than legislative elections that the governing occasion, often called Morena, is anticipated to dominate. Mr. López Obrador — additionally a former mayor of the capital — has a excessive approval score all through the nation however is much less standard in Mexico Metropolis.

Ms. Sheinbaum and Mr. Ebrard are each members of Morena, and each are vying to succeed Mr. López Obrador as president when his time period ends in 2024.

Mr. López Obrador, who campaigned on enhancing Mexico’s infrastructure, has spearheaded formidable public transportation tasks since taking workplace in 2018, together with practically 1,000 miles of railway stretching throughout Mexico. He has sought to create a legacy by way of a number of landmark tasks and, quickly after taking workplace, stopped the development of a half-built airport {that a} rival occasion had began to construct for Mexico Metropolis.

Although the development was superior and the federal government had spent billions of {dollars} on the airport, Mr. López Obrador scrapped it to construct one other airport at a special location, reimagining the mission in his identify.

But the president’s flashy tasks have come on the expense of extra pressing wants, together with water infrastructure issues in a rustic more and more burdened by droughts and Mexico Metropolis’s subway system, a key mode of transportation for the sprawling capital’s inhabitants of practically 22 million.

Concerns about the structural integrity of the stretch of tracks where Monday’s accident occurred had been raised since a strong earthquake struck Mexico in 2017.
Credit score…Alejandro Cegarra for The New York Instances

The subway system in Mexico Metropolis, the nation’s sprawling capital, handles greater than 4 million passengers a day and is the second-largest within the Americas, after New York Metropolis’s. And when it was inaugurated in 1969, adorned with Aztec artifacts and Maya-style friezes, it was the delight of a nation.

However lately it has turn out to be an emblem of city decay.

There was concern over the integrity of the elevated tracks and help columns on the stretch of tracks the place Monday’s accident occurred after a highly effective earthquake hit Mexico in September 2017.

The elevated infrastructure on the subway line — often called Line 12, or the Golden Line — was broken, El Common newspaper reported.

Later that month, some native residents instructed El Common that they feared that the broken line would possibly collapse. The newspaper reported on the time {that a} column between the Olivos and Nopalera stations had suffered structural harm. It additionally reported that engineers had been to conduct an ultrasound survey of the reinforcing metal in 300 columns alongside Line 12’s elevated portion.

It was not instantly clear what work had been finished to deal with the security considerations. However there was a broad decline of the system lately.

The Golden Line opened in 2012 and is the most recent within the system. But from the outset, it has been beset by issues.

Trains working over elevated components of the observe needed to decelerate for concern they could derail. And simply 17 months after the $2 billion line was inaugurated, town suspended service on a big a part of it.

Service was later restored, however considerations concerning the system as a complete have grown.

Final month, one of many capital’s 12 subway traces shut down after a observe fireplace. And in January, a fireplace ripped by way of the metro’s downtown headquarters, killing a police officer and sending 30 others to hospitals with smoke inhalation. Six subway traces had been quickly knocked offline.

Opposition events blamed a scarcity of upkeep for the inferno, and the conservative Nationwide Motion Occasion filed a prison criticism in opposition to Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and the pinnacle of the Mexico Metropolis subway.

In March 2020, one individual was killed and at the least 41 others had been injured when two subway trains collided. Ms. Sheinbaum stated on the time that one of many trains had apparently backed into the opposite. Video of the wreckage confirmed that the power of the collision had left one of many trains caught on high of the opposite, in keeping with Reuters.

The subsequent month on the Misterios station, a railway coupler — a mechanism used for becoming a member of practice vehicles — fractured en path to its vacation spot. Though that incident resulted in no deaths, staff requested for extra security measures, El Common reported.

The newest severe accident occurred in 2015, when a collision between two trains left 12 individuals lifeless. In 1975, one other practice collision on the Viaducto station killed 31 individuals and left greater than 70 injured, in keeping with El Common.

After the 2015 accident, the German-based firm TÜV Rheinland was employed to look at the circumstances which may have brought on it and recommend enhancements to expertise. The corporate completed its work in 2017 and was not concerned in trying into the energy of present buildings, a spokesman stated.

“TÜV Rheinland supervised the event of enchancment measures to treatment technical issues in methods engineering,” stated the spokesman, Jörg Meyer. “Our actions at the moment weren’t associated to bridge infrastructure.”

Emergency workers moving an injured person on a stretcher.
Credit score…Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Photographs

The crash was so sudden, witnesses stated, that there was hardly time to scream.

One second, passengers had been zipping alongside an elevated stretch of observe on Mexico Metropolis’s Golden Line, after which the ground fell out from beneath them.

“It occurred actually all of a sudden,” one girl instructed the Mexican newspaper El Common. “I fell into everybody else. Everybody fell into everybody.”

Hernando Manon, was strolling dwelling from work when he felt a tremor and heard a loud crash just a few hundred yards up the road.

“There was a rumbling after which sparks. The lights went out, and we didn’t know what occurred. Then we heard the sirens,” Mr. Manon stated. “As we approached, we realized that the subway had collapsed.”

Surveillance footage confirmed the second the overpass got here crashing down onto the road, sending the practice plunging to the bottom in a cloud of mud and particles.

“I heard an explosion — we thought it was a stationary gasoline tank,” one resident, Eduardo García, instructed Univision Noticias, a Spanish-language media outlet, including that he had been enjoying soccer on the time. Mr. García stated he had instantly begun working, earlier than seeing a number of ambulances.

Enrique Bonilla, 57, who was on the practice on the time of the crash, instructed the tv community Televisa that he had felt a sudden motion and heard a loud sound because the bridge was collapsing. He stated that individuals had fallen on high of each other, and that he had vomited. Mr. Bonilla was capable of seize onto a pole and, afterward, to flee by way of a damaged window, he stated, sitting on the bottom after the crash.

It was throughout in seconds, Mr. Bonilla added. “Thank God I got here out alive.”

Mexican rescue personnel removing a victim’s body from the train wreck.
Credit score…Marco Ugarte/Related Press

Hours after the collapse, rescue staff struggled on Tuesday to free individuals trapped contained in the tangle of crushed steel and collapsed concrete, which was all that also stood on the website the place the practice overpass had crumbled.

Dozens searched rigorously by way of the particles, some utilizing steel ladders to climb by way of the home windows of the practice vehicles to drag individuals to security. Plenty of individuals had been taken from the scene on stretchers because the police, emergency staff and a few volunteers labored by way of the evening and into the following day. The rescues had been halted briefly round midnight because the practice dangled precariously, however had been restarted after it was secured.

A tearful mom, recognized solely as Elísabet, instructed the tv channel Azteca Noticias that she was trying to find her 13-year-old son, who had been out with others within the metropolis heart and was on the metro, about to come back dwelling. “I spoke 5 minutes in the past with him,” she stated between sobs. “He stated that he was about to reach.” She begged the authorities to “give me again my son.”

After the crash, dozens of relations crowded across the crash website, voicing their frustration to native reporters about not having the ability to get nearer and assist get their family members out of the particles.

Instantly after the crash, a video confirmed members of the neighborhood, many carrying masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, helping the injured. Three males could possibly be seen carrying one other younger man away from the location of the wreckage. One other man hobbled from the scene, bracing himself on one other man’s arm.

Others handed out water and child wipes to assist clear the faces of those that had rushed in to assist.

Shortly earlier than 2 a.m., the Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco stated that at the least 5 individuals remained trapped and that search and rescue staff had been utilizing a 200-ton crane to help their efforts. However a short while later, authorities’s civil safety authorities indicated that there have been not individuals trapped within the rubble.

Photographs from the scene confirmed the crane lifting one of many subway vehicles barely from the collapsed roadway beneath to permit emergency staff to proceed trying to find anybody who was injured or trapped.

Talking from the scene, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum stated that one individual had been pulled from a automobile trapped on the roadway beneath the collapsed rail line. At the least 79 injured individuals had been taken to the hospital.

An eight-second video that captured the second of collapse confirmed average visitors flowing on both facet of the suspended bridge when all of a sudden it cracked and buckled in a burst of concrete and sparks, falling between the lanes of vehicles.

One other video taken a couple of minutes later confirmed a handful of law enforcement officials and volunteers utilizing development ladders arrange in opposition to the facet of the practice to assist individuals down — together with a number of who had been hobbling and practically unable to stroll.

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