MEXICO CITY — A panel of experts in Mexico has determined that an old drainage pipe was to blame for a sinkhole on a major highway that killed two men last month when their car plunged into it.

The 34-year-old drain was not replaced as suggested before an expanded highway was built on top of it, the experts concluded in a report released Thursday.

The drain became clogged, and water backed up and apparently washed away the earth beneath the road.

Clemente Poon, Mexico’s highways director, cited “mistakes and omissions in the supervision and building” of the highway expansion.

Poon said the mistakes were made by “the companies responsible (for the project) and public servants.”

The sinkhole spanning two lanes opened in July near Cuernavaca, on the highway connecting Mexico City and the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco. The victims died after their car fell into the void.

“The study indicates that the design to build a roofed drainage canal was not followed,” Poon’s department said in a press statement. “If the designer’s proposal had been followed, surely the failure of the tube could have been avoided.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.