Horror in Mexico: 'Only a Handful of the Remains Still Had Skin' - Page 2
Death toll rises to 73 in fuel pipeline blast
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2019 5:32 AM CST
- On Saturday, Perez, who escaped along with his son, returned to the scorched field in the town of Tlahuelilpan in Hidalgo state to look for missing friends. It was a fruitless task. Only a handful of the remains still had skin. Dozens were burned to the bone or to ash. Several of the deceased lay on their backs, their arms stretched out in agony. Some seemed to have covered their chests in a last attempt to protect themselves. Lost shoes were scattered around a space the size of a soccer field. Closer to the explosion, forensic workers marked mounds of ash with numbers.
- Arely Calva Martinez said the recent shortages at gas stations raised the temptation to salvage fuel from the gusher. Her brother Marco Alfredo, a teacher, was desperate for gas to drive 90 minutes back and forth to work when word spread via Facebook that fuel spewing into the field. Marco Alfredo and another brother, Yonathan, were in the field when the fire erupted. They haven't been seen since. "I think if there had been gas in the gas stations, many of these people wouldn't have been here," Calva Martinez said while holding a picture of her brothers.
- Tears streamed down Erica Bautista's cheeks as she held up her cellphone with pictures of her brother, Valentin Hernandez Cornejo, 24, a taxi driver, and his wife, Yesica, both of whom are also missing. Valentin faced "enormous lines" for a limited ration of gas, she said. Then he received a phone call alerting him to the fuel spill. "We want to at least find a cadaver," she said while weeping.
- Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio said there are 50 soldiers stationed every 12 miles along the pipelines, and that they patrol 24 hours a day. But the soldiers have been ordered not to engage with fuel thieves out of fear that an escalation could result in more shootings of unarmed civilians or more soldiers being beaten by a mob.
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