21 dead, dozens injured after pipeline explosion in Mexico

19 Janvier, 2019, 15:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • 21 dead, dozens injured after pipeline explosion in Mexico

Hidalgo's governor Omar Fayad told Mexican television that emergency services had registered the charred bodies of 21 people, and that at least 71 others had been injured.

Fayad said he did not have a firm estimate of the number of those injured.

Video taken before the fire showed the oil spouting metres into the air as people approached with buckets at about 5pm local time (11pm GMT). "Apart from being illegal, it puts your life and those of your families at risk". "What happened in Tlahuelilpan today should not happen again".

Additional footage showed the pipeline gushing a fountain of fuel earlier in the day and people moving in with containers.

He added that he wanted the "entire government" to help people at the scene.

The accident comes just weeks after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched an initiative to combat fuel theft in Mexico, where criminal gangs and corrupt employees cost Pemex 6-billion pesos in losses ($3.1 billion) in 2018.

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His crackdown on theft has significant public backing, though his decision to turn off pipelines to thwart the thieves caused significant disruptions to fuel supply in central Mexico and concern that the shortages could damage the economy.

With crowds of townspeople often involved, either aiding thieves or collecting spilled fuel in primitive containers, it was only a matter of time before a fire occurred.

Another pipeline burst into flames in the neighbouring state of Queretaro, but the Mexican army reported that no one was hurt.

That blast burned people and scorched homes, affecting 5,000 residents in an area six miles (10 kilometres) wide in San Martin Texmelucan.

A presidential spokesman, Jesus Ramirez, said in an interview yesterday most pipelines had been reopened and would only be closed when illegal taps were detected.

He launched the offensive after taking office December 1, deploying 3,200 marines to guard pipelines and refineries.

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