A segment of a Mexico City Metro train line with a history of structural problems collapsed on Monday night leaving nearly two dozen dead and many more injured. As the dust begins to settle, many residents of the city are already pointing fingers at local officials who have done little to ensure the line’s safety.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador has said that his government will allow for a transparent investigation and will “hide nothing” from the public but many have little faith in the government to do what’s right.
Mexico City Metro train collapses and leaves 23 people dead and many more injured.
A metro train traveling on an overpass in the southeastern part of Mexico City collapsed late on Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 70. One person trapped in a car underneath the wreckage was pulled out alive.
The two train carriages were seen hanging from the structure, above a busy road. This is the deadliest incident in decades in the city’s metro system, one of the busiest in the world.
A crane was sent to the scene to stabilize the carriages amid concerns they could fall onto the road, which forced officials to temporarily halt rescue efforts at night.
In chaotic scenes, anxious friends and relatives of those believed to be on the train gathered in the area. Efraín Juárez told AFP news agency that his son was in the wreckage. “My daughter-in-law called us. She was with him and she told us the structure fell down over them.”
Gisela Rioja Castro, 43, was looking for her 42-year-old husband, who always take that train after work and had not been answering his phone. She said the authorities had no information about him. “Nobody knows anything,” she told the Associated Press.
Mexico City’s metro system is one of the world’s busiest but has long suffered from underfunding.
Mexico City’s metro system is one of the most used in the world, carrying tens of millions of passengers a week. In North America, only New York’s subway carries more people every day. Yet the incident did not occur on one of the older lines, which have been through at least two major earthquakes in the past 35 years. Rather it happened on Line 12, completed as recently as October 2012.
There will be difficult questions for the mayor’s office to come about the construction of the line, including for several former mayors.
They include Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was in office when Line 12 was unveiled and who championed the metro’s expansion. He called the accident a “terrible tragedy”.
Mexico City’s current mayor has promised a thorough investigation.
The tragedy puts the spotlight on Mayor Sheinbaum and Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, two key allies of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who are both seen as early front-runners to be Mexico’s next president. Lopez Obrador said at the Tuesday briefing that his government would “hide nothing” from the public about the accident.
Sheinbaum, who has been mayor for more than two years, said the city was going to inspect the entire Line 12, on the southeast side of the city, which she said had been undergoing regular maintenance. She said the rest of the subway lines are safe, though she pointed out that as recently as January, the metro system had had another major problem, a fire in the main control room that stalled operations through mid-February.
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