At least 13 people were killed in the explosion that ripped through a petrochemical facility in southeastern Mexico on Wednesday (April 20), officials said on Thursday.
More than 130 people were injured in the explosion, which triggered a fire and sent huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.
Hundreds of locals were evacuated amid reports the black cloud contained toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride.
The plant in the port city of Coatzacoalcos, in the southeast,
is a joint venture between Mexico’s state oil company Pemex and plastic pipe maker Mexichem.
Worried family members outside a local hospital searched for the names of their loved ones on a hand-written list of the injured.
Pemex CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, who traveled to the site, said it was unclear what caused the leak that triggered the blast.
“We know there was a leak, what we don’t know is why, but everything points to an accident,” he told local television.
It’s the latest in several fatal accidents at Pemex premises in recent years, as the company cuts costs to cope with the drop in oil prices.
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