[QODLink]
Americas

Deadly gas-tanker explosion in Mexico City

Vehicle explodes on highway in suburb of Ecatepec, killing at least 21 people and injuring dozens more.

Last Modified: 08 May 2013 09:26
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A gas tanker has exploded on a highway in the Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec, killing at least 21 people and injuring nearly three dozen, according to the Citizen Safety Department of Mexico State, which surrounds Mexico City.

The blast rocked a neighbourhood of Ecatepec, north of the Mexican capital, in the early hours of the day, injuring at least 36 people while affecting 15 cars and 27 homes, the mayor and a Mexico state official said.

Nearby buildings, cars and lorries burst into flames when the tanker exploded before sunrise in the community of San Pedro Xalostoc, which is part of the municipality of Ecatepec and is home to a 16th century church.

Officials did not rule out the possibility that the death toll could rise as emergency workers continued sifting through the charred remains of vehicles and homes built near the highway on the northern edge of the metropolis.

The explosion closed the highway between Mexico City and Pachuca.

Charred wreckage of cars littered the blast site.

A huge piece of the lorry's gas tank was blown a hundred metres by the force of the blast, landing atop the wall of a house and cars parked outside.

Charred wreckage of cars littered the blast site.

Hundreds of police, ambulances drivers and paramedics, soldiers and firefighters gathered at the scene, where a giant plume of smoke rose over the area after the explosion around 5am Tuesday local time.

The pre-dawn accident exposed two recurrent public safety issues in Mexico: extremely heavy lorries that are frequently involved in serious accidents, and the construction of improvised homes just feet away from major highways.

Some of the cinderblock homes hit by the massive explosion were just steps away from the busy, six-lane highway.

Mexican lorries, often overloaded or unsafely operated, have been involved in a number of spectacular, deadly accidents in recent years.

One year ago, the Mexican government announced measures to tighten inspections and lower maximum allowed weights for freight lorries after protests over a string of deadly accidents involving double-trailer lorries.

Mexico had allowed lorries to travel two-lane roads with loads of up to 80 metric tonnes and lengths exceeding 100ft, compared to a US limit of is 40 tonnes on interstate highways.

It subsequently reduced that limit by about 4.5 tonnes.

In April 2012, a double-trailer lorry on a two-lane road in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz lost its rear trailer, which crashed into a bus carrying farm workers, killing 43 people.

417

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.
Traders and farmers struggle to cope as restrictions on travel prevent them from doing business and attending to crops.
Unique mobile messaging service, mMitra, helps poor pregnant women in Mumbai fight against maternal mortality.
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
join our mailing list