Man Survives Mexico City Subway Collapse After Changing Cars Just Before Crash: 'It Wasn't My Time'

Erik Bravo said he felt as though he'd gotten a "second chance" following the incident, which killed 25 people, including children

Erik Bravo
Erik Bravo. Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP/Shutterstock

A routine trip home from work nearly ended in disaster for one Mexico City man who says his decision to switch subway cars may have saved his life.

Erik Bravo, 34, was riding the elevated subway Number 12 line on Monday night when it collapsed, killing 25 people, including several children, and injuring approximately 80 more, the Associated Press reported.

"In some way, I feel grateful to someone, something up there, that for some reason decided it was not my time," he told the outlet.

Bravo had been riding with two colleagues, but after they got off at their usual stops, he decided to walk through several subway cars as a way of putting himself closer to the platform's end when the car would eventually pull into his stop at Olivos station.

Once he got to the different car, Bravo told the AP that he felt the train jerk and stop — and soon, the entire cabin was filled with smoke.

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As it turns out, a steel beam holding up the elevated line had broken, collapsing the rail bed and sending several train cars falling down below, authorities reportedly said.

"People were desperate, they tried to break the glass, they wanted to open the window to escape," Bravo said.

Though the cabin's automatic doors would not open, a police officer told people a door was open farther back, the AP reported. Bravo eventually made his way to safety, but not before passing a jarring scene that included two unconscious people lying on the floor and a little girl crying.

"When I got home … we began to look at everything that was coming out on the internet," he told the outlet. "It was a shock, I had been there. We began to see that people had died, people were missing, wounded, and here I was, unhurt, still here."

"You realize that, in some way, you got a second chance, because that could have been you," he added.

mexico metro collapse
Eyepix/Sipa via AP Images

The Number 12, which serves low-income neighborhoods, is the newest line on the city's subway system, but has been plagued by allegations of poor design and construction since it opened in 2012, the AP reported.

A brief closure in 2014 helped repair some tracks, though a large earthquake in 2017 reportedly exposed additional structural defects that authorities mended with "patchwork fixes."

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said that maintenance was carried out on the train line every day, The New York Times reported.

"At this moment, we can't speculate about what happened. There has to be a deep investigation, and whoever is responsible has to be held responsible," Sheinbaum reportedly said.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign minister and the former mayor of Mexico City, wrote on Twitter that the incident was a "terrible tragedy," and that the cause would be investigated.

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