Mexico City prosecutors said Friday that severed cables and a speeding driver were responsible for a Jan. 7 subway crash that killed one person and injured dozens.
One subway train slammed into another between stations, leading city officials to suspect sabotage, though many city residents see the problem as a lack of maintenance.
Prosecution spokesman Ulises Lara said a cable serving the subway’s control system was found damaged by “intentional burning and cutting.” He said an investigation into possible sabotage would be opened.
But Lara also said the driver of the train that rear-ended another would be charged with homicide and causing injuries. Lara said the driver may have broken a 22 mile per hour (35 kph) speed limit.
Problems with the signaling system were known before the crash, and drivers were also supposed to wait for orders to proceed, even if they had a green light. The driver in this case may not have obeyed those instructions.
Lara also said a Jan. 15 incident in which two subway cars came uncoupled was due to “manipulations with the intent to cause a serious incident.”
Accidents on the subway have been a recurrent embarrassment for Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is considered the most likely candidate of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party to succeed him in the 2024 elections.
In May 2021, an elevated section of the subway system collapsed, killing 26 people and injuring nearly 100. An investigation blamed deficiencies in the line's construction, and 10 former officials have been charged with homicide, injury and damage to property, though none have been jailed.
Like the president, Sheinbaum often ascribes setbacks to a conservative conspiracy against her.
Soon after the Jan. 7 subway crash, López Obrador ordered 6,000 National Guard agents to patrol subway platforms.
The Mexico City subway system has 226.5 kilometers (141 miles) of track and 195 stations. It serves an average of 4.6 million passengers every day and is one of the cheapest subway systems in the world, with a ticket for a ride to anywhere in the system costing about 25 cents.