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News Article

Mexico City Metro Collapse: Matter of Negligence?

By Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Tue, 05/04/2021 - 18:09

A Mexico City subway train overpass collapsed last night. The accident occurred between stations Olivo and Tezonco of Line 12 of the Mexico City Metro, the system’s newest subway line. A train was traveling over it when the accident occurred and its fall led to the deaths of 24 people, with 79 more reported wounded, reported Mexico City’s Civil Protection on Twitter. This is the worst tragedy the city has faced since the earthquake of 2017, reports El Pais, and the largest involving the subway. 

The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, explained in a tweet that the overpass’ beam gave in because it could no longer bear the weight of the train. The collapse occurred on Monday, May 3, at around 10:20 pm, explains BBC World. Security footage uploaded to social media shows the collapse of the overpass, causing the train over it to fall about 20m to land at a V angle, reports el Informador. The fall trapped many vehicles traveling through Tlahuac Avenue, according to images captured at the moment of the incident.

“Now, our main task is to care for the people who are in the hospitals and the families of the victims who unfortunately died. The Prosecutor's Office has started investigating what happened in this incident,” said Claudia Sheinbaum, according to El Pais. “We need experts from the federal justice as well as an external and unbiased team to conduct the investigation and all the reports that need to be done and get to the truth,” she said according to NBC News.

Was It Negligence?

The line was constructed when Marcelo Ebrard, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, was the Head of the Government of the City, then a Federal District. Line 12 represented an investment of US$1.8 billion dollars and was inaugurated in October 2012, according to El Pais. During its construction, the line played a prominent role in a corruption scandal that involved around 30 people in the government, explains El Pais. Months after its inauguration, Miguel Angel Mancera, who followed Ebrard as Head of the Government, stopped the line’s circulation, arguing that there were irregularities in its construction that could put many lives in danger.

Since the earthquake of 2017, citizens of Mexico City and subway users urged authorities to look into the deteriorated state of the subway infrastructure, particularly around the area where the overpass incident occurred yesterday, reports el Pais. “What happened today in the Metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity with the victims and their families. Of course, causes must be investigated and responsibilities defined. I place myself at the disposal of authorities to contribute in whatever way is necessary,” tweeted Marcelo Ebrard after the incident.

“The authorities knew about the failures on Line 12. There is negligence in the project: in terms of the tracks and the material. The trains are obsolete, they are failing a lot,” said a Metro driver to El Financiero, who according to the source did not want to disclose his name out of fear of losing his job but claimed to have worked on the subway for nine years. To him, something was going to happen sooner or later.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, El Pais, Twitter, El Financiero, BBC Mundo, NBC News, El Informador
Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst