SANTIAGO – The rupture of a water main Thursday in the Chilean capital crippled transportation in a busy area of the city, affecting some 300,000 people, authorities said.
The resulting flood forced street closures and the shutdown of eight metro stations, leaving tens of thousands of commuters to make their way on foot.
Metro service remained suspended at 11 a.m., seven hours after the pipe broke, and management said the interruption could extend into the evening rush hour.
“The first thing we have to do is drain the water that is in the tunnel and on the rails. Then we will carry out a technical evaluation of sector and we estimate that we might be able to re-establish service about two hours after draining the water,” the head of operations for the Santiago Metro, Rodrigo Terrazas, told reporters.
Aguas Andina, which supplies water to most of the capital, said before midday that the ruptured pipe had been repaired.
But officials criticized the utility, a subsidiary of Spain’s Aguas Barcelona, for failing to heed warnings about problems with the pipes in the affected area.
Administrators of the Providencia municipality said they told Aguas Andina a month ago that water was leaking into the Tajamares Museum, which was completely flooded Thursday.
The acting governor of the Santiago metropolitan region, David Morales, said the accident showed that Aguas Andina was not keeping up with maintenance.