Probe finds new defects after Mexico City metro crash

FILE PHOTO: Employees work as part of the investigations in front of the site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it, in Mexico City, Mexico May 19, 2021. REUTERS/ Henry Romero/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Civil Engineering Corps of Mexico said on Thursday that after a physical inspection of the Mexico City metro line that suffered a deadly collapse last month it found evidence of other deficiencies and vulnerabilities that require further analysis.

"Deficiencies and vulnerabilities were detected that require further study," said Bernardo Gomez, coordinator of the corps' structural safety technical committee.

The corps inspected 11.1 kilometers (6.9 miles) of the now-suspended Line 12 metro route, excluding the exact location of the May 3 accident that killed 26 people.

Fissures in columns and beams, lack of adequate space between girders and other issues labeled "questionable construction practices" were among the deficiencies, said Gomez.

The corps recommended giving priority attention to repairing the fissures in columns and other parts of the metro line's infrastructure and reviewing the separation between the columns for the metro and a bridge for cars along the heavily transited inner city ring road known as the Periferico.

"We have three cases of columns where cracks are seen in the concrete that appear to be superficial but due to the importance of these structural elements ... it's important that they not only be repaired but are further analyzed and studied," said Gomez.

He added that while some of the defects seen could have come when the metro line was built, they could also be the product of the massive September 2017 earthquake that struck Mexico City. He urged further analysis.

Preliminary findings of an independent investigation presented on Wednesday showed the deadly collapse on a section of the Line 12 metro route was caused by a structural failure.

The collapse, Mexico's biggest train accident in years, put pressure on close allies of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, as well as Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, Latin America's richest man.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Raul Cortes in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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