NEZAHUALCÓYOTL, MEXICO – A pedestrian bridge linking the neighboring municipalities of Nezahualcóyotl and Chimalhuacán in Mexico State collapsed Thursday morning, leaving at least 15 people injured, authorities said.
The bridge spanned a drainage canal known as La Compañía near the Los Rosales Cemetery on the border between the two cities, located just east of Mexico City.
Bridge Falls Onto Canal Below
According to witness accounts, the middle section of the metal footbridge gave way around 11:30 a.m. local time, causing both ends to crash down onto the concrete banks of the canal below.
At least 15 pedestrians were crossing the bridge when the collapse plunged into the canal, which contains sewage and rainwater runoff.
Emergency responders pulled victims from the foul-smelling muck and provided first aid. The injured were transported to area hospitals, several in serious condition. Two adults and three children were hospitalized, paramedics said.
Officials have not confirmed any fatalities so far. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing.
Bridge Was the Main Connector Between Cities
The bridge was one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares connecting Nezahualcóyotl and Chimalhuacán.
Many residents used the span daily to commute across the canal to jobs, schools, cemeteries, and shopping areas.
“This was the fastest way to cross between the two cities,” said Pedro Gutiérrez, who lives nearby. “Now we must walk an extra 15 minutes to get around the canal.”
The collapse occurred on the Day of the Dead when many people were traveling to cemeteries to pay respects to deceased loved ones. Los Rosales Cemetery was packed with holiday visitors when the incident took place.
“The bridge was full of people bringing flowers and gifts for relatives. Then we heard this massive boom and metal crashing,” said Dolores Martinez, who was visiting a grave site. “People were screaming and running.”
Structural Integrity Had Been Questioned
Although the cause of the collapse is still under investigation, residents reported that the aging bridge had appeared to be in poor condition recently.
Some locals said the structure would shake and wobble when walked on and that it had started to sag over the past year.
“It was already buckling and making noises,” said Esteban Ramírez, who crosses the bridge daily. “I was worried something like this would happen.”
Citizens had notified authorities about the bridge’s precarious state, but no repairs were made.
“We sent the city many complaints about the problems, but they never fixed it,” Gutiérrez said. “This could have been prevented.”
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Officials have not commented yet on whether they were aware of structural issues before the collapse.
Victims Could Seek Compensation
Victims injured by the bridge failure may have legal recourse against the municipalities if negligence is proven.
“If warnings were given about safety issues, authorities may be liable for not taking corrective action,” said civil attorney Pedro Ortiz. “Injured parties could seek compensation by filing claims and lawsuits.”
Legal experts say the process could take years to unfold in Mexican courts. Financial settlements would depend on the severity of physical harm and culpability determinations.
Collapse Causes Transportation Chaos
The bridge collapse has severed a key transportation artery between Nezahualcóyotl and Chimalhuacán, causing chaos for pedestrian travel and commerce.
With the route blocked, citizens are being forced to find alternate crossings over the canal. Some have relied on narrow illegal footbridges nearby.
“This is going to majorly disrupt how people move between the cities,” Gutiérrez said. “It’s going to be a big mess until they can rebuild.”
Business activity has also been hampered, as vendors and customers use the bridge daily. The structure’s failure will require financial adjustments.
“Many of my customers come over that bridge from Nezahualcóyotl. Now it will be harder for them to shop at my store,” said Álvaro Díaz, who owns a clothing boutique near the canal. “My business will probably suffer.”
New Bridge Likely, But ReconstructionTakes Time
While a replacement footbridge seems probable, authorities say it could take months to design and construct.
Engineers must conduct surveys, draft plans, obtain permits and contracts, and physically build a new span. Construction on a permanent bridge will unlikely start for several weeks at the earliest.
In the interim, officials might install a temporary movable walkway while developing a permanent crossing option. But that would also take time to procure and implement.
“We know people need to get across the canal. But this will require patience,” said an infrastructure spokesperson. “Rebuilding this vital connection is a priority, but it must be done safely.”
For now, altered transportation patterns and long detours will disrupt daily life and commerce for Nezahualcóyotl and Chimalhuacán residents. But officials pledge to restore the severed link between the sister cities as swiftly as possible.
The investigation into the cause of the deadly collapse continues. Updates will be provided as more details emerge. For now, the focus remains on search efforts and assisting victims of this tragic infrastructure failure.