Mexico City metro: Hundreds protest at scene of deadly rail collapse

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image captionAnger has mounted as details of structual concerns and alleged corruption have emerged

Hundreds of people have gathered in Mexico City to demand justice for those who were killed when a metro overpass collapsed earlier this week.

Demonstrators converged from around the city and held a vigil at the site of the accident late on Friday.

At least 26 people died and dozens more were injured in the collapse, which happened on an elevated track with a history of safety concerns.

The authorities have promised to carry out a full investigation.

Anger has grown after details emerged that suggested successive warnings about the safety of the elevated track on Line 12 – which was built in 2012 – were ignored by officials.

There were concerns about design problems and construction standards, as well as allegations of corruption. The line was also closed for more than 18 months over apparent structural faults.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said “nothing [will] be hidden” in the inquiry. A Norwegian engineering firm has been asked to help prosecutors with the investigation, and the full timetable of the inquiry will be published next week.

“What happened is due to negligence, due to corruption,” one protester, Briseida Noguez, told the AFP news agency on Friday.

“I’m here in solidarity with all the people who died. They no longer have a voice,” she added.

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image captionA vigil was held near the scene of the accident on Friday

The protesters held signs and chanted “justice!”, while small scuffles broke out as the police tried to prevent demonstrators from reaching the site of the accident.

“It’s a disgrace for society, for our community. I hope that all the people rest in peace and hopefully receive justice,” another protester, Erick Medina, told AFP.

Many people lit candles and placed flowers at the scene, and a list of the victims’ names was read out to the crowd.

media caption‘My dad never came home from work’

Shortly after the vigil, the death toll from the accident reached 26 after a woman died of her injuries in hospital. “Our deepest condolences,” Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum wrote on Twitter.

What happened to the overpass?

CCTV footage showed the overpass collapsing as a train was travelling over it on 3 May, sending up clouds of debris and sparks. The crash happened near the Olivos station in the south-east of the city.

At least 80 people were injured, including one person who was pulled out alive from a car underneath the wreckage.

It was the deadliest incident on the city’s metro system in decades.

image copyrightGetty and Google Maps

image captionImages show the metro overpass before and after the accident

Mayor Sheinbaum said a beam holding up the section of elevated track had given way. Experts later told AFP that problems with the steel beams or damage to the joints connecting them to the line could have triggered the accident.

Elevated parts of the line, including the collapsed overpass, had to be closed for multiple repairs in 2014. Residents also reported cracks in the structure after an earthquake in 2017, and transport authorities made repairs following the reports.

In 2017, the then director of the city’s metro, Jorge Gaviño, said the line “was born with endemic problems that would never be solved in its life” and that it would require “permanent” maintenance.

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