Faulty studs led to the Mexico City Metro Collapse, says the Attorney General

MEXICO CITY – Poorly placed studs, clear design flaws and inadequate welding led to a collapse of the capital’s subway system last spring that left 26 people dead and points damaged, the Mexico City Attorney General said on Thursday when he published the results of a month-long investigation.

The results, detailed during a press conference, were in line with several of the conclusions of a New York Times survey, who found that poor installation of the metal studs was central to the fatal accident on May 3.

The metal bolts were the key to the entire construction and created a composite unit between steel beams and concrete slabs. Once the studs failed, the whole structure weakened, which eventually led to the collapse.

The rules “that connect the concrete slab to the metal beams were misplaced”, says Ulises Lara López, spokeswoman for the Office of Justice. “In the sections where the concrete slabs came loose from the beams, all studs were poorly installed with irregular patterns.”

Such basic deficiencies, Lara said, could not have been found through routine inspection or avoided through regular maintenance.

By announcing the results of his office on Thursday, Advocate General Ernestina Godoy Ramos described the report as “an in-depth, serious, scientific study conducted by experts.”

An independent report issued earlier this year by the Norwegian risk management company DNV also found serious design defects, including placement and welding of metal sticks. The Mexico City government had hired DNV to investigate the causes of the crash.

The subway crash has triggered political shocks, which has left some of Mexico’s most powerful people, including Secretary of State Marcelo Ebrard, who was mayor of Mexico City when the line was built.

Mr Ebrard, as well as the current mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, are both expected to seek the presidency in the 2024 election.

The collapsed subway section was built by the Carso Group, a large conglomerate owned by one of Mexico’s richest and most powerful men, Carlos Slim, a close ally by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. (Mr. Slim was also once a major shareholder in The New York Times Company.)

Godoy said her office would initiate criminal proceedings against people believed to be responsible for the collapse, even though she did not identify any person. “Just as our mission is justice, our priority has been and will continue to be the victims,” ​​she said.

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