At least 23 people were killed and 65 were hospitalized when a railway overpass and train collapsed onto a busy road in Mexico City on Monday night, crushing cars under fallen carriages and rubble.
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 southeast of the city around 10.30pm local time, sending up clouds of dust and rubble.
Rescuers scrambled to save injured passengers from tilted carriages, helping them down from ladders. Meanwhile onlookers feared a man was trapped in a car buried beneath the rubble.
One person tweeted: “There is a person in the car under the rubble. Help them.”
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 rescuers could resume their work, she said.
Sheinbaum said seven of the people transported to hospital were in a "grave condition" and undergoing surgery.
Wearing a hard hat and face mask to speak to reporters at the accident site, Sheinbaum said it appeared 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 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.
Mexico City’s subway system is the second largest in the Americas after that of New York City and handles millions of passengers a day.
In March 2020, one man was killed and at least 41 others were injured when two subway trains collided.