Mexico City subway overpass collapses, killing at least 24 and injuring dozens

CNN  — 

An overpass carrying a subway train collapsed in Mexico City late Monday, killing at least 24 people, including children, according to local government officials.

At least 79 people have been hospitalized, officials added. Four bodies remain trapped inside the carriages that plummeted to the streets below.

The train was traveling on an elevated part of the city’s rapid transit system, on the newest Line 12 – also known as the Golden Line – when part of the overpass collapsed onto traffic below, Mexico’s Secretariat of Risk Management and Civil Protection said.

International engineering experts will be called in to help determine the cause of the collapse, which the country’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, called “the most terrible accident we’ve ever had in the public transport system.”

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told a news briefing on Tuesday that alongside an investigation by the attorney general, “we will hire an international company certified in metros and structural matters to conduct an external technical investigation.”

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard said he will fully cooperate with all investigations into Monday’s deadly subway overpass collapse in Mexico City. Ebrard, who served as mayor of Mexico City at the time the subway line was constructed, said: “I’m at the complete disposal of the relevant authorities, as I’ve always been, for everything that is needed.”

The collapse happened near Olivos Station, at 10:25 p.m. local time, according to Mexico City Interior Minister Alfonso Suarez Del Real.

Rescue efforts were temporarily suspended earlier in the night due to concerns over the stability of the subway car, which was still dangling over the road.

Mayor Sheinbaum said one survivor was trapped in a vehicle beneath the rubble, but had since been freed.

The city’s metro system is one of the busiest in the world. Line 12, where the accident happened, opened in 2012. The so-called “Golden Line” was built over the course of four years.

Mexico City Metro Director Florencia Serrania refused to resign during a press briefing on Tuesday, telling reporters: “I consider that I will collaborate with the attorney general to know what was the cause of this structural failure, and I think that’s what we all want, get to the bottom of this.”

“All the public workers are subject to people’s scrutiny, but also it’s crucial to make the inspections and apply the necessary sanctions,” she said.

Emergency personnel search for accident survivors after a raised subway track collapsed on May 3 in Mexico City.

“Our main task is to attend to the people who are in the hospitals, to attend to the relatives of the victims who unfortunately died in this incident,” said Sheinbaum, Reuters reported.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office will carry out all the investigations, will make all the expert reports to find out what happened in this accident on line 12 of the subway,” she added.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador offered his condolences to the families of those killed at a press briefing. He added the investigation into the cause of the collapse should be done quickly and that nothing should be hidden from the public.

“There’s no impunity for anyone,” he said.

Tatiana Arias in Atlanta and Sheena McKenzie in London contributed to this report