Mexico Metro Collapse
Mexico City fire fighters and rescue personnel work to recover victims from a subway car that fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Monday, May 3, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Ruiz)

Mexico City metro overpass collapses onto road; 23 dead


An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent a subway car plunging toward a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring about 70, city officials said.

A crane was working to hold up one subway car left dangling on the collapsed section so that emergency workers could enter to check the car to see if anyone was still trapped. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 49 of the injured were hospitalized, and that seven were in serious condition and undergoing surgery.

Sheinbaum said a motorist had been pulled alive from a car that was trapped on the roadway below. Dozens of rescuers continued searching through wreckage from the collapsed, preformed concrete structure.

“There are unfortunately children among the dead,” Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many. ,

The overpass was about 5 meters (16 feet) 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.

“A support beam gave way,” Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it.

Rescue efforts were briefly interrupted at midnight because the partially dangling train was “very weak.”

"We don’t know if they are alive,” Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the subway car.

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.

Oscar López, 26, was searching for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she 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.”

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.

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.

Ebrard wrote on Twitter: “What happened today on the Metro is a terrible tragedy.”

“Of course, the causes should be investigated and those responsible should be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am entirely at the disposition of authorities to contribute in whatever way is necessary.”

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 March of last year, a collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at the Oceania station, injuring 12 people.

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Time for a major investment in fixing infrastructure.

Looking at the Olivos station on Google Maps, the main vertical structural system would appear to be steel plate girders, with precast concrete planks running transverse to the main span direction to create a platform for the railway to be constructed.

Steel does not normally fail this suddenly when designed properly; it is meant to fail slowly if it is loaded or designed inadequately, such that the failure of the system is progressive and noticeable to inspectors. The phrase "ductile failure" is a key component of modern structural engineering. It will be interesting to follow the investigation of this collapse to see what happened.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Tragic. We hope ALL friends and family are safe.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Oh boy what a mess, I hope that the death toll does not rise any more, there are one or two concerns about its strength after an earth quake, there should be a team of structural engineers on hand to inspect the structure after such an event. I just hope its not down to some one skimping on materials in the first place. if it is found out they have skimped on materials, well the company or indeviduals should, need to held accountable for there actions.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

¡Ay, caramba!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Terrible , guess some big questions need to be asked about city hall , the construction company and the methods of payment and who is living in big houses.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after Ebrard left office as mayor.

Sorry, for the victims, an avoidable tragedy, typical incident due to corruption, lack of foresight and mediocre infrastructure in the third world..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Time for a major investment in fixing infrastructure.

That is the Mexico City's Metro newest line. It was built somewhere in the 2006-2012 time frame.

Steel does not normally fail this suddenly when designed properly; it is meant to fail slowly if it is loaded or designed inadequately,

The steel truss I-35W Mississippi River Bridge, the Morandi Bridge entering Genoa, the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River at Point Pleasant WV just to name a few off the top of my head were instances of bridges collapsing suddenly with no warning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

mediocre infrastructure in the third world.

This might surprise you but Mexico is an OECD member and among the more highly developed nations in the world. Mexico has the 15th largest economy, sandwiched between Australia at no 14 and Turkey at no16.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Terrible , guess some big questions need to be asked about city hall , the construction company and the methods of payment and who is living in big houses.

The construction quality has been openly questioned since the line was built.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Look at Google Maps, type in "Mexico City Olivos Station" Zoom in to the station then select Street View. From street view look up at the bridge the train line runs on. Really lightly built. Only two parallel beams carrying all the weight of two train lines and the concrete deck sections. Zoom in the places where the beams sit on the concrete piers and you can see only half the width of the beam is attached to the pier. The bottom of the beam is unsupported, no way for stress in the bottom of the beam to be transmitted the support columns. I bet the whole line ends up having to be rebuilt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@DT, ive just had a look at the underneath of the station, I confess that I am no structural engineer, but these "I" beems dont look strong enough, although they look about 6' or 1.8 deep my concern would be the load need to be spread out, so may be youl need 4 "I" beams, then we take into consideration all of the super structure above, pluss trains, etc, and then youl need to factor in earth tremors, wind. I really dont think it was built strongly enough to last.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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