Survivor of Mexico City subway crash reflects on decision to change cars

MEXICO CITY — A decision to change cars to get nearer to a station exit could have saved Erik Bravo, a 34-year-old monetary adviser who survived the collapse of an elevated line in Mexico City’s subway system that killed 25 individuals and injured round 80.

Bravo mentioned Thursday that he and two colleagues from work had been accustomed to taking the Number 12 line residence from their jobs. His two pals received off late Monday, as traditional, at their stops.

Alone, Bravo determined to put on his headphones and use the time earlier than his cease on the Olivos station to stroll ahead by way of a pair of subway cars, to be nearer to the exit on the finish of the platform when he arrived.

The transfer possible saved him from catastrophe.

“You realize that, in some way, you got a second chance, because that could have been you,” Bravo mentioned.

As his automotive pulled subsequent to the platform, he felt the practice jerk, as if pulled from behind, and shudder to a cease as smoke stuffed the cabin. A male passenger shouted for individuals to lie on the ground for security.

“People were desperate, they tried to break the glass, they wanted to open the windows to escape,” Bravo recalled.

The automated doorways wouldn’t open, however a police officer instructed them {that a} door was open farther again.

Bravo walked towards the again not realizing the final two cars of the subway practice had fallen into the rubble of the collapsed elevated rail mattress.

In one of the final cars nonetheless standing on the monitor, two individuals lay unconscious on the ground. Somewhat lady was crying. “I saw a man with his two little girls,” Bravo mentioned, however he doesn’t know what occurred to them.

Mexico City fire fighters and rescue personnel work to recover victims from a subway accident after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Monday, May 3, 2021.
Mexico City hearth fighters and rescue personnel work to get well victims from a subway accident after a bit of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City on May 3, 2021.
AP Photo/Jose Ruiz

Stunned, he walked residence.

“When I got home … we began to look at everything that was coming out on the internet,” Bravo mentioned. “It was a shock, I had been there. We began to see that people had died, people were missing, wounded, and here I was, unhurt, still here.”

Authorities say the collapse occurred after a metal beam that held up the elevated line broke. Investigators are actually making an attempt to determine how and why.

The line, the subway’s latest, stretches far into town’s south aspect. Like many of the system’ s dozen subway strains, it runs underground by way of extra central areas of town of 9 million individuals however is on elevated concrete constructions on the outskirts.

Allegations of poor design and building on the Number 12 line emerged quickly after it was inaugurated in 2012, and the road had to be partly closed in 2014 so tracks might be repaired.

The metropolis’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake in 2017 revealed some structural defects that consultants say ought to have resulted in a complete closure and full inspection of the road. Instead, authorities utilized some patchwork fixes and re-opened it.

Mexico City's subway cars lay at an angle after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
The subway seen after the collapsed in Mexico City on May 4, 2021.
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

While Bravo knew there have been cracks and defects, it by no means occurred to him that it’d collapse.

“Yes, you knew there were defects, but not that kind of defect that would cause what happened to occur,” he mentioned.

Most assume the tragedy was preventable.

“They could have avoided this, if the government had paid attention to the services they provide us,” mentioned one other common passenger on the road, Ana María Luna. “But they didn’t pay attention to all the reports” of defects, she mentioned.

Even with the subway, Luna had to journey for hours to get to her job as a safety guard. Since the catastrophe, her commute has stretched to three hours.

The collapse has quickly closed the subway line, leaving 1000’s of residents on the south aspect dependent on bus service. People waited in lengthy strains to board buses Thursday.

Erik Bravo, 34, a survivor of Monday's subway collapse, speaks during an interview in Mexico City, Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Three days after one of the worst accidents of the Mexico City subway system, Erik Bravo says he nonetheless can’t course of every part that has occurred, however repeats that he was one of the fortunate ones.
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

“Politicians don’t care if they do things right or not,” mentioned Victor Luna, who was making an attempt to get to his job as a watchman.

María Isabel Fuentes, a home employee, mentioned the subway’s defects had lengthy apprehensive her. “Ever since it opened, it was scary,” she mentioned.

Because it serves low-income neighborhoods, the road seldom appeared a precedence, she mentioned. “We’re the same ones who always pay.”

Bravo has saved busy since his close to miss, fixing up an previous motorbike he owns so he can get to work now that the road is out of service. His nights have been sleepless, although, as he reflects on what might need been.

“In some way, I feel thankful grateful to someone, something up there, that for some reason decided it wasn’t my time,” Bravo mentioned.

Left without subway service on Line 12 after Monday’s collapse, commuters ride a bus on the south side of Mexico City, Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Left with out subway service on Line 12 after the collapse, commuters journey a bus on the south aspect of Mexico City on May 6, 2021.
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

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