Medellín Metrocable cabin falls killing 1 and injuring 21 others

By June 27, 2024

Medellín, Colombia – A cable car cabin on Medellín’s renowned metrocable fell off its line on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring 21 others. 

At 4:42 am on Wednesday June 26, a cabin on the K line of the metrocable plummeted to the ground because of an apparent collision. As reported by Colombian news station Caracol Radio, this is the first time in the metro system’s 29-year history that passengers are affected in an incident like this. 

Image Source: Joshua Arte Via X.

Later in the day, the Medellín mayor’s office issued a joint press release with Metro de Medellín, the public company that runs the city’s mass transport system, stating that they “profoundly lament the death of user Jhon Londoño,” and affirmed that those wounded have been given medical attention and psychological support. 

In addition, the joint statement also affirmed that the metrocable consistently gets maintenance checks, which are overseen by international personnel who certify that safety conditions align with those of European countries.

One of Londoño’s close friends spoke to Medellín-based newspaper El Colombiano about the accident.

“He was a good father and employee, who had worked for years in a company which consistently praised his work ethic,” he stated.

He also mentioned how Londoño lived in the Santo Domingo El Pinar neighborhood of northern Medellín, and was one of the first to use the metrocable in the morning so he could get to work before 5:00 am.

Another of the cabin’s passangers, 21-year-old Estefani Rendón, spoke to local radio station Caracol Radio about what happened.

“The only thing that I remember is that when we were approaching the Popular station, I felt how we crashed into another cabin. It was incredibly shocking to see wounded people around me, and to witness how someone died,” she stated.

Rendón is currently at the hospital with a leg wound and a pelvic fracture. However, she noted how quick emergency protocols were activated from the Metro de Medellín and paramedics at the scene. 

Carlos Quintero, director of the Medellín Risk Management Department, explained that emergency procedures have been developed in partnership with the Metro for many years. This led to their prompt activation with the deployment of firefighters, and the rescue of the passengers in the cabins which remained suspended after the incident, according to Quijano.

The K line, which operates from the Acevedo to the Santo Domingo stations in north-eastern Medellín, will remain suspended indefinitely. The line is also heavily used by tourists to Medellín as a jump off point for a metrocable line that visits Parque Arví, a natural park just outside the city. 

However, a contingency plan was activated to mitigate possible transport accessibility issues for the 46,000 daily users. Five alternative routes have been announced via bus while the K line resumes regular operation according to Metro de Medellín.  

The K line was the first line in what became the world’s first cable-based urban public transport system, according to the Metro de Medellín. The implementation of such a system sought to increase transport accessibility for users who live in the peripheries of the city. 

Image Source: Creative Commons Licenses

Before the K line, people had to take buses, walk, or use informal transportation to access the center of Medellín, which took them more than 90 minutes. Now, this time has been cut down to 30 minutes. 

The introduction of the K line gave access to public transportation to more than 240,000 users from the poorest and most marginal areas of the city, according to the entity.