Families mourn victims of Mexico City subway collapse

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Firefighters work to lower to the ground a subway car dangling from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of Mexico City's metro collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

MEXICO CITY – José Luis Hernández Martínez crossed Mexico City every day on subway Line 12 between his home on the city’s south side and the body shop where he worked repairing mangled cars.

The 61-year-old’s train had emerged from beneath the city and was jostling along the elevated portion far from downtown late Monday night when two of its bright orange cars suddenly fell into a void.

Hernández Martínez was killed instantly, his son Luis Adrian Hernández Juarez said, one of 25 people who died in one of the world’s largest subway system’s worst accidents. More than 70 others were injured.

“My father was recovered without vital signs, with trauma to his thorax, his brain, his feet, his knees,” Hernández Juarez said, gripping the death certificate. He said emergency personnel told him his father was crushed beneath other passengers. “It’s really terrible to see your father that way for the last time.”

Hernández Juarez planned to bury his father Wednesday as a string of funerals began across the city of more than 9 million people.

Anger and frustration boiled among the victims’ families and those who ride the sprawling subway daily.

“No one is going to give me my father back, even if they give me 10 million pesos,” Hernández Juarez said, while expressing concern that his mother had been left without a source of income.

A preliminary review suggested a failure in the horizontal support beams caused the accident, authorities said.