Death toll in Mexican chemical plant blast rises to 24

mexico blast
PEMEX BLAST. A handout picture made available by the El Heraldo De Coatzacoalcos newspaper shows emergency team members working at the premises of a Pemex petrochemical complex following a strong explosion, in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, April 20, 2016. Photo by El Heraldo De Coatzacoalcos/EPA

This same plant previously suffers a blast in 1991 that officially left 6 dead, although local media said the toll was much higher

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Apr. 23, 2016) — The death toll from a powerful blast at a petrochemical plant in Mexico climbed to 24 on Thursday, April 21, after authorities were able to enter the facility, state-run oil giant Pemex said.

“We have confirmed 24 deaths,” up from the previous toll of 13 from Wednesday’s blast, CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya told a news conference, adding that the number of missing dropped from 18 to eight. Pemex co-owns the plant.

Three people were previously confirmed to have died in Wednesday’s explosion in southeastern Veracruz state that also injured 136.

The explosion, so strong it was felt 10 kilometers (six miles) away, marked the latest in a string of deadly accidents to plague the state-run oil giant Pemex in recent years. This same plant suffered a blast in 1991 that officially left 6 dead, although local media said the toll was much higher.

In 2012, a Pemex natural gas plant explosion killed 30 people in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. Even its headquarters — a skyscraper in the heart of Mexico City — was hit in January 2013 by a blast caused by a gas buildup that left 37 dead.

Accidents have taken place at several oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico while fires have erupted in pipelines after fuel thieves punctured them to steal the product.

The Mexican government has implemented a sweeping reform of the energy sector, which opens it to foreign investors for the first time in decades and partly aims to help modernize the country’s aging infrastructure.

  by Agence France-Presse |