An overpass in Mexico City’s metro collapsed on Monday night, sending a train plunging towards a road, trapping at least one car under rubble and killing at least 20 people, authorities said.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 70 people were injured, with 49 admitted to hospital, according to preliminary figures.
Ms Sheinbaum also said someone had been pulled alive from a car that was trapped 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,” Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many.
Video showed at least one broken train partially suspended and a car trapped under rubble, with dozens of rescuers searching through wreckage. The overpass was about 5 metres above the road in southern Mexico City.
“A support beam gave way,” Ms Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it.
Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene Tuesday as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the train gathered outside the security perimeter. Despite the fact that the coronavirus situation remains serious in Mexico City, they crowded together as they waited for news.
Rescue efforts were however briefly interrupted because the partially hanging train was “very weak” and a crane had to be brought in. There were still people trapped inside the train, though “we don’t know if they are alive,” said Ms Sheinbaum.
The accident happened on the metro’s Line 12, the construction of which has been plagued by complaints and accusations of irregularities, the line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired. Mexico City's former mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, now the country's foreign minister oversaw the original construction of Line 12. He called the accident "a terrible tragedy,” on twitter and called for an investigation, saying he would be at “the disposition of authorities to contribute in whatever way is necessary.”
The Mexico City Metro 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.