Mexico City brings 10 criminal charges over fatal metro line collapse

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum visiting the site of the collapse (From the Twitter account of Claudia Sheinbaum)
Mexico City prosecutors said Monday they have brought criminal charges against 10 “individuals and companies” after 26 people were killed by the collapse of an elevated metro line in May.

A spokesperson for the city’s attorney general said the charges were for negligent or involuntary homicide, damages and causing injuries. Those involved were not arrested, but were told to attend an initial hearing on 25 October, reports the Associated Press.

The statement did not name those charged, in keeping with presumption of innocence rules.

Prosecutors said the aim of the prosecution was to identify individuals who were negligent in their duties, and make companies pay for repairs and reparations to the families of the victims. Criminal charges against individuals could result in prison terms.

Line 12 of the Mexico City metro, known as the Golden Line, started operating in October 2012. A section that included the part that collapsed was shut down 15 months later, in March 2014, for nearly nine months to address structural and technical problems.

The then director of the Metro, Jorge Gaviño, said the $1.3bn line “was born with endemic problems that would never be solved in its life”.

An interim report was published in June, commissioned by the municipal government and prepared by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an Oslo-based risk management consultant. This found evidence of missing or faulty welding on girders, missing or badly welded bolts and the use of different types of concrete.

Jesus Esteva, head of Mexico City’s public works department, said at the time that the report showed “on a preliminary basis, that the incident was sparked by a structural fault”. He said this had led some girders to deform and others to slide out of position.

The prosecutors’ report also cited bad welds in the steel beams underlying the track bed that either failed to adhere or had split. Steel struts intended to stiffen the metal beams were too short or not properly attached.

The collapsed section has since remained closed.

Further reading:

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News