Survivor recalls night of Mexico City metro wreck

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A decision to change cars to get closer to a station exit may have saved Eric Bravo, a 34-year-old financial adviser who survived the collapse of an elevated line in Mexico City’s subway system that killed 25 people and injured around 80.

Bravo said Thursday that he and two colleagues from work were accustomed to taking the Number 12 line home from their jobs. His two friends got off late Monday, as usual, at their stops.

Alone, Bravo decided to put on his headphones and use the time before his stop at the Olivos station to walk forward through a couple of subway cars, to be closer to the exit at the end of the platform when he arrived.

The move likely kept him from disaster.

As his car pulled next to the platform, he felt the train jerk, as if pulled from behind, and shudder to a stop as smoke filled the cabin.

A male passenger shouted for people to lie on the floor for safety.

“People were getting desperate, they wanted to break the glass, they wanted to break the windows to get out,’ Bravo recalled.

The automatic doors wouldn’t open, but a police officer told them that a door was open farther back.

Bravo walked toward the back not knowing the last two cars of the subway train had fallen into the rubble of the collapsed elevated rail bed.

In one of the last cars still standing on the track, two people lay unconscious on the floor.

Stunned, he walked home.

Bravo has kept busy since his near miss, fixing up an old motorcycle he owns so he can get to work now that the line is out of service.

His nights have been sleepless, though, as he reflects on what might have been.

Authorities say the collapse occurred after a steel beam that held up the elevated line broke.

Investigators are now trying to figure out how and why.

The line, the subway’s newest, stretches far into the city’s south side. Like many of the system’ s dozen subway lines, it runs underground through more central areas of the city of 9 million people but is on elevated concrete structures on the outskirts.

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

While Bravo knew there were cracks and defects, it never occurred to him that it might collapse.

“If did generate some distrust,” he said. “But because it is your everyday means of transportation, it never crosses your mind that something like that would happen.”


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