A Mexico City metro viaduct collapsed Monday night, sending a passing train plunging down a busy boulevard, trapping at least one car under the rubble and killing at least 15 people, authorities said.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 70 people were injured, including 34 hospitalized, and people could still be trapped inside the train, which was split in two and appeared to be partially suspended.
The video showed a car bomb under the rubble, with dozens of rescuers searching the wreckage. The viaduct was about 5 meters above the road in southern Mexico City.
“A support beam gave way,” Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it.
Rescue efforts were briefly halted at midnight as the partially suspended train was “very weak” and a crane had to be brought in.
“We don’t know if they’re alive,” Sheinbaum said of the people trapped in the subway car.
It was not known whether most of the dead were in metro cars, or whether they were pedestrians or motorists caught below.
Hundreds of police and firefighters cordoned off the scene in the southern borough of Tlahuac, as desperate friends and relatives of those suspected of being on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter.
Oscar López, 26, was looking for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was taking the subway, returning from her dental job when her phone stopped answering when the accident happened.
“We lost contact with her at 10:50 p.m. there was literally no contact,” López said.
The collapse occurred on Mexico City’s newest metro line, Line 12, which runs far south of the city. Like many of the city’s dozen metro lines, it runs through more central areas of the city of 9 million people, but then runs on preformed concrete structures elevated on the outskirts of the city.
The collapse could be a blow to Mexican Secretary for External Relations Marcelo Ebrard, who was the mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012 when Line 12 was built. Questions about the quality of construction emerged shortly after he stepped down as mayor.
Ebrard wrote in his Twitter account: “What happened today in the subway is a terrible tragedy.”
“Of course, the causes must be investigated and those responsible must be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am entirely at the disposal of the authorities to contribute in any way.”
Mexico City’s metro, one of the largest and busiest in the world, has had at least two serious accidents since it opened half a century ago.
In March last year, a collision between two trains at Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at Oceania station, injuring 12 people.