MEXICO CITY: Twenty-three people were killed, including children, and 49 were hospitalised when a railway overpass collapsed onto a busy road in Mexico City on Monday (May 3) night.
Rescue efforts for potential survivors were paused shortly after the accident, authorities said, because of the risk that more of the Metro overpass and train cars could slam down onto the road.
A video on local channel Milenio TV showed the structure plummeting onto a stream of cars near Olivos station in the south-east of the city at about 10.30pm local time (11.30am on Tuesday, Singapore time), sending up clouds of dust and rubble.
Other images showed at least two train carriages precariously hanging from the damaged overpass as emergency fire and medical crews initially used ladders to access the carriages.
However, Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the rescue had been suspended "because the train is very weak". A crane was being transported to the site to stabilise the train carriages so that rescuers could resume their work, she said.
Sheinbaum said that seven of the people transported to hospital were in a "grave condition" and undergoing surgery. She had earlier said that a total of about 70 people had been injured.
Wearing a hard hat and face mask to speak to reporters at the accident site, Sheinbaum said it appeared that a girder had given way on the overpass, but the cause was being investigated.
The Metro 12 line that runs over the collapsed overpass was built almost a decade ago when Mexico's current foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard was mayor of Mexico City.
"What happened today with the Metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity is with the victims and their families," Ebrard said on Twitter. "Of course, the causes must be investigated and responsibilities defined."
Ebrard and Sheinbaum are seen by many political observers as the most likely successors to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador once his six-year term is over in 2024.