Disasters & Accidents

Vigil held at Mexico City metro accident site amid demands for justice

By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

Mexico City, May 7 (EFE).- Hundreds of people gathered Friday at the site of a deadly metro overpass accident in Mexico City to pay tribute to the 26 victims of the worst tragedy in the city since an earthquake in 2017.

The accident took place Monday night when a beam of an elevated section caved in, causing the train carriages to dangle in a V shape.

On Friday evening, locals began approaching the door of the Olivos station on Line 12, which remains closed, to place candles in honor of the victims of the accident, which also left 88 injured, 33 of whom are still receiving treatment.

In front of the site of the tragedy, where the rubble remains and a stretch of the track is hanging, locals made a makeshift altar where they left balloons and confetti in memory of Giovanny, the minor killed in the accident.

“Many people said it was going to collapse, so many voices said it was going to fall and it fell,” lamented 70-year-old Leticia who lives just yards away from the site, before conducting a mass attended by several dozen people.

Line 12 of the metro was inaugurated in 2012 as the great project of then-mayor and current foreign secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, to connect the south of the city with the center.

Some 220,000 passengers traveled daily on the metro, which was embroiled in controversy from the start.

The project cost much more than was promised and between 2014 and 2015 part of its operations were suspended due to numerous safety issues.

Simultaneously with the vigil, about 100 people walked or cycled through part of Tláhuac Avenue, over which the overpass of Line 12 passes.

Holding posters that read “It was not an accident, it was negligence,” the protesters made their way through six stops of the line carrying white roses.

However, they were stopped from arriving at the accident site later in the night by a strong police deployment.

Some 82.7 percent of Mexicans believe that the metro tragedy was due to the authorities’ “negligence,” according to a survey conducted by the Strategic Communication Cabinet firm.

Many residents had reported damage to the overpass after a powerful earthquake on Sep. 19, 2017.

Mexico City mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has for the moment ruled out the dismissal of the metro’s director, Florencia Serraní, whose management was so far marked by a fire in the control center of the Mexico City subway in January.

On Friday, Sheinbaum met with the Civil Engineers College and instructed them to conduct a thorough review of the line to determine responsibilities while a Norwegian company will carry out an independent investigation into what happened.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who declared three days of official mourning and backed the probe launched by the local government, said he would not visit the accident site as he considered it “demagogic.” EFE


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