City officials say that an elevated section of the Mexico City metro has collapsed and sent a subway car plunging toward a busy boulevard, killing at least 23 people and injuring about 70.
Rescuers searched a car left dangling from the overpass for hours for anyone who might be trapped.
However, those efforts were suspended early on Tuesday because of safety concerns for those working near the precariously dangling car. A crane was brought in to help shore it up.
“We don’t know if they are alive,” Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the car following one of the deadliest accidents in the city’s subway system, which is among the busiest in the world.
Earlier, Ms. Sheinbaum said someone had been pulled alive from a trapped car on the road below. She said 49 of the injured were hospitalized and that seven were in serious condition and undergoing surgery.
“There are unfortunately children among the dead,” Ms. Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many.
The overpass was about five meters above the road in the borough of Tlahuac. Still, the train ran above a concrete median strip, which apparently lessened the casualties among motorists on the street below.
A support beam gave way” just as the train passed over it, Ms. Sheinbaum said.
The Mexico City Metro has had at least two severe 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, wounding 12.
Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the train gathered outside the security perimeter.
Adrian Loa Martinez, 46, said that his mother called him to tell him that his half-brother and sister-in-law were driving when the overpass collapsed and that beam fell onto their car.
He said that his sister-in-law was rescued and sent to a hospital but that his half-brother, Jose Juan Galindo, was crushed, and he feared he was dead. “He is down there now,” he told journalists pointing toward the site.
Gisela Rioja Castro, 43, was looking for her husband, 42-year-old Miguel Angel Espinoza. She said that her husband always takes that train after finishing work at a store, but he never got home and had stopped answering his phone. When she heard what had happened, she immediately feared the worst but had received no information from authorities.
Nobody knows anything,” she said.
The collapse occurred on the newest of the Mexico City subway lines, Line 12, which stretches far into the city’s south side. Like many of the city’s dozen subway lines, it runs underground through more central areas of the city of nine million but then runs on elevated concrete structures on the city’s outskirts.
The collapse could represent a significant blow for Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, 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 Mr. Ebrard left office as mayor. The line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired.
Mr. 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.”