Pipeline explosion kills 66, burns dozens in central Mexico (VIDEO)
The death toll was provided by Hidalgo governor, Omar Fayad, who also told the media that 76 people were injured in the blast. A 12-year-old was among those wounded, he said, warning that the number of fatalities may still increase.
"I urge the entire population not to be complicit in fuel theft. Apart from being illegal, it puts your life and those of your families at risk," Fayad wrote on Twitter earlier.
The pipeline had been spewing fuel for several hours near Pemex’s Tula refinery, and hundreds of people had reportedly gathered round with plastic containers and even vehicles to grab whatever fuel they could carry – rendering the eventual explosion that much more deadly. Videos posted on social media, apparently from the scene, show flames shooting dozens of meters upwards as people scurry around screaming.
⚠️ #UltimaHora Explosión de toma clandestina en #Tlahuelilpan#Hidalgo, la gente se acercó a tomar combustible despues de una fuga y cuando esta explotó habían muchas personas ahí. Por ahora no hay cifras de muertos o heridos.📸 Video e información: Grito Informativo pic.twitter.com/MyEHNNF2x2— Luis Borja (@luisborja76) January 19, 2019
Pemex said in a statement that the fire was because of illegal siphoning at the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline in Tlahuelilpan.
#Tlahuelilpan#Hidalgo | ARDE EN LLAMAS DUCTO DE PEMEX, lugar donde hace unos minutos se registraba una fuerte fuga.Lo anterior sucede luego de la ruptura en un ducto de Pemex.Trasciende de manera extraoficial que hay personas quemadas#MarfecaTeInformapic.twitter.com/NyKofS14x8— MARFECA (@MARFECA_HIDALGO) January 19, 2019
The site has been secured by the Mexican Army. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has made cracking down on fuel thieves a priority, stating that the siphoning cost the government over US$3 billion in 2018.
🚨 #Precaución 🚨Autoridades de San Juan del Río reportan estallido aparentemente de ductos de Pemex en las inmediaciones de la comunidad de Paso de Mata, cuerpos de emergencia ya se encuentran en el lugar, no se reportan heridos. #Seguridad#SanJuandelRío#Pemexpic.twitter.com/JrEiYQfKMS— Círculo Radio (@Circulo_Radio) January 19, 2019
Just minutes after the explosion, another Pemex pipeline exploded in Paso de Mata, near San Juan del Río, sending yellow fireballs into the air. No one was reported injured in that blast.
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