Mexico City subway crash partly due to lack of maintenance, says third audit


Soldiers stand as rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a subway partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City, Mexico May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Luis Cortes /File Photo

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MEXICO CITY, May 10 (Reuters) – An auditor’s third report into a fatal Mexico City subway crash last year identified poor maintenance as one of four causes of the collapse of the railway viaduct, according to an unpublished version of the study seen by Reuters.

A Mexico City official familiar with the document has confirmed the authenticity of the report by Norwegian company DNV, which was produced at the request of the city government to determine the cause of the crash that killed 26 people.

It was supposed to be the last of three auditor’s reports since the May 3, 2021 accident on the Line 12 metro service, and it was the first to cite maintenance as the main cause, according to a Reuters review of published studies. by the city.

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Spanish newspaper El Pais published details of the report on Monday. Reuters was unable to establish who leaked the report and for what reason.

The report identifies what it calls four “barriers” which, if in place, would have prevented the overpass from collapsing. Three related to the design, construction and construction supervision process.

The last point concerned maintenance. In its findings, DNV said it received “no evidence” that the required inspections on the subway line had been carried out.

According to the DNV report, the Line 12 maintenance manual stipulates that inspections of the structure are carried out quarterly, semi-annually and annually depending on the age of the components.

“Failure to perform overpass inspections and failure to adhere to maintenance manual inspection requirements is a root cause of failure,” the final report states.

Who exactly is responsible for carrying out the inspection work was “not clearly specified”, he said.

The cause of the crash is politically sensitive as the line was built when Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was the city’s mayor from 2006 to 2012, and it collapsed 2½ years into the current mayor’s term. , Claudia Sheinbaum.

The two are among the leading contenders to become Mexico’s next president in the 2024 elections, according to opinion polls.

The report has not yet been made public because Sheinbaum’s administration – which hired DNV – rejected the findings, saying they were biased and the methodology was flawed.

Sheinbaum, who entered City Hall in December 2018, told a Monday news conference that DNV’s final report had a “political bias.”

To back up her claim, she reiterated her claim that the firm hired a lawyer with biases against the government to help write the report, and said DNV leaked the findings, breaching a confidentiality agreement.

The city had previously identified the attorney as Hector Salomon Galindo, who held previous government jobs. He could not be reached for comment.

Sheinbaum also said Monday that line maintenance has not been an issue and inspection logs are public.

DNV in a statement last week defended its findings and methodology, and responded to Sheinbaum’s claims about the attorney by saying the report was produced without the involvement of anyone with a conflict of interest.

DNV did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. He also did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the details of the leaked study or why the maintenance issues had not been flagged in previous reports made public by the city.

Sheinbaum, who last week called the report “flawed, poorly executed, technically flawed, biased and wrong,” said the city was in the process of terminating DNV’s contract and taking legal action against company because it had deviated from the agreed methodology. in his contract.

Asked about the findings of the leaked report ahead of Monday’s news conference, the mayor’s office said the briefing would outline the city’s position.

Ebrard’s department said it had no comment on the media reports. The office of his successor as mayor, Miguel Mancera, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although the report became public this week, the copy seen by Reuters was dated October 28. Reuters was unable to determine whether it was subsequently revised.

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Reporting by Dave Graham, Diego Ore, Cassandra Garrison and Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Howard Goller

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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