At least 24 people were killed and 65 were injured when a rail overpass in Mexico City collapsed, sending a train crashing down onto cars below.
Rescue operations for possible survivors were temporarily halted at the metro’s 12 line overpass shortly after the accident on Monday night, with authorities warning that more train parts and debris could slam down onto the track.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said a crane was being brought to the scene to help stabilize the train carriages so that rescuers could resume their work.
Sheinbaum stated that seven of those transported to the hospital were in “critical condition” and were undergoing surgery.
“There are unfortunately children among the dead,” Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many. “A support beam gave way” just as the train passed over it, she added.
A video posted on the local channel Milenio TV showed the structure crashing into a line of cars near the Olivos station in the city’s southeast at about 10:30 p.m. local time (03:30 GMT on Tuesday), throwing up clouds of dust and debris.
Other photographs showed at least two train carriages dangling precariously from the broken overpass, with emergency fire and medical services initially accessing the carriages via ladders.
A crane was working to lift one of the subway cars that had been left hanging on the fallen section so that rescue personnel could reach and search a crushed car to see if anyone was still trapped.
Friends and relatives of metro bridge victims awaited word on their loved ones early Tuesday, but many expected the worst. One man said, “My brother is still under the ruins.”
People were held away from the immediate disaster site, where rescue teams were operating.
Oscar Lopez, a friend of one of the missing Adriana Salas, 26, a pregnant woman, said she was on the phone with her mother on the train when contact was unexpectedly lost.
“I talked to her when she left work, she was in contact by messages… The police and paramedics don’t tell us anything,” said Lopez.
When Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was mayor of Mexico City, the metro’s 12 line was installed.
“What happened today with the Metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity with the victims and their families,” Ebrard said on Twitter.
“Of course the causes must be investigated and responsibilities defined. I reiterate I am at the disposal of authorities to help in whatever is necessary.”
Many political analysts see Ebrard and Sheinbaum as the most possible successors to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador when his six-year term expires in 2024.
Since its inception half a century ago, the Mexico City Metro, one of the world’s biggest and busiest, has had at least two serious incidents.
A collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station in March of last year killed one passenger and wounded 41 others. A train that did not stop on time at the Oceania station in 2015 collided with another, injuring 12 people.