At least 24 killed when Mexico City underground rail bridge collapses

Mexico City, May 5, (dpa/GNA) - At least 24 people were killed after a bridge on an elevated section of the Mexico City underground system partially collapsed as a train was passing over it late Monday.

Some 79 people were injured, some of them seriously, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told journalists.

Several carriages of a line 12 metro train plunged several metres and collided into each other, videos circulating on social media showed.

"Our solidarity goes out to all those families who have lost loved ones," Sheinbaum added.

Initial findings showed the accident occurred when part of the bridge gave way, Sheinbaum said, announcing an investigation into the "unfortunate and serious incident."

Traffic had been flowing under the collapsed section of the bridge at Olivos station on the south-eastern edge of the Mexican capital at the time of the accident.

"All we heard was a loud thundering and everything came crashing down," the Universal newspaper quoted a 26-year-old survivor as saying.

Footage showed a large number of rescuers using a ladder to pull passengers out of train carriages as they were hanging from the bridge.

Given the train's unstable position, a crane was later used in the rescue work to free trapped passengers.

"We all screamed and then fell into the depths," Reforma newspaper quoted survivor Itzel Yolitzin Garcia as saying. "It was terrible."

Another survivor recounted how he had escaped through a half-opened door and had blood on his shirt from a person who had lost a hand in the accident.

Local residents had complained for years about damage to pillars along the route of metro line 12. After a severe earthquake in September 2017, citizens had worried that the structure could collapse.

According to media reports, major cracks had appeared after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake.

There had also been allegations of corruption in the construction of the line. In 2014, not long after the inauguration of line 12, service was interrupted for over a year and a half for repairs to structural defects.

An investigation also found that some of the funds provided by the federal government for the project were not justified. More than 60 officials were later sanctioned over the irregularities.

At the time of construction, Marcelo Ebrard, the current Mexican foreign minister, was mayor of Mexico City. When investigators targeted him, media reports alleged he absconded to Paris, which he denied.

After Monday's accident, Ebrard said he was available to the investigating authorities.