Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Builder under scrutiny as Mexico City probes metro collapse

- Tribune News Service Bloomberg News

MEXICO CITY – A Mexico City metro accident that killed 26 people in

May was caused by flaws in the rail line’s constructi­on, according to a citycommis­sioned report, opening billionair­e Carlos Slim’s infrastruc­ture firm to scrutiny.

The tragic late-night collapse that plunged a train from an elevated track into traffic below was due to poor or unfinished welding and the mixing of different types of concrete in the structure, Norwegian firm DNV said in its report. The structure was missing various bolts compared with the original design.

The report’s focus on constructi­on failures throws Slim’s Grupo Carso SAB into the spotlight because it built the portion of the Line 12 metro that collapsed, raising questions about the future of the company’s dealings with the government. A unit of Grupo Carso is also building part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s flagship Maya Train project through the country’s southeaste­rn region.

Family spokesman and Slim’s son-in-law Arturo Elias Ayub declined to comment. Carso’s stock fell 1% to 65.29 pesos on Wednesday.

The law requires “restitutio­n, rehabilita­tion, compensati­on,” for the victims’ families, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said at a press briefing where she presented the report.

Both Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was mayor at the time of the metro line’s inaugurati­on in 2012, and Sheinbaum, have come under scrutiny amid media reports that the constructi­on was rushed or maintenanc­e had failed.

DNV said that the line was operating under normal conditions before the accident and the rails appeared to be adequately maintained.

Both Ebrard and Sheinbaum are seen as early contenders for the 2024 presidenti­al elections.

The New York Times published similar findings on Sunday about faulty constructi­on, including that ceramic rings used around studs during installati­on in the concrete slabs had not been removed.

In his morning briefing on Wednesday, the president criticized the story by The New York Times, which said the metro’s constructi­on may have been rushed because Ebrard sought to open the metro before his mayoral term ended in 2012. Lopez Obrador said the report “lacked ethics.”

“There will be punishment for those responsibl­e, whoever is responsibl­e” for the accident, Lopez Obrador said.

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