Death Toll Hits 24 in Mexico Chemical Blast

Desperate relatives demand answers from petrochemical firm
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2016 1:04 AM CDT
Tolls Hits 24 in Mexico Chemical Blast
Mexican soldiers wearing protective face masks stand guard at an entrance of the Pajaritos petrochemical complex in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.   (Felix Marquez)

The death toll from a petrochemical plant explosion in southeastern Mexico has risen to 24, state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos reported late Thursday. Pemex raised the toll from the 13 fatalities previously known and also said 19 people remained hospitalized, with 13 of them in serious condition. Earlier in the day, desperate relatives gathered outside the plant in the industrial port city of Coatzacoalcos, on Mexico's southern Gulf coast, hoping for news about loved ones still unaccounted for. About 30 families massed at a plant entrance road, where a sharp chemical smell still hung in the air about a mile from where the explosion occurred Wednesday afternoon, the AP reports. Shoving broke out as people unsuccessfully tried to force their way into the installation.

The blast forced evacuations of nearby areas as it sent a toxin-filled cloud billowing into the air and injuring more than 100 workers. Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, Pemex's director, told Radio Formula that the explosion was caused by a leak of as-yet unknown origin. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto also toured the facility Thursday. A spokesman for a family searching for a lost relative vowed that the families would demand a full account of what happened. "To the president, to the state governor, to the head of Pemex, we will not allow any more cover-ups like have happened with previous accidents," he said. (Read more Mexico stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.