July 12, 2020

Deadly gas tanker explosion in Mexico City suburb

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_67457486_67457485BBC

A gas tanker has exploded on a motorway in a suburb of Mexico City, killing at least 20 people and injuring 36, officials say.

Television images showed damaged buildings and cars in the area of Ecatepec on Tuesday morning.

The explosion happened at about 05:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on the highway between Mexico City and Pachuca.

_67460557_de28-1The driver of the truck is under arrest in hospital, where he was being treated, officials say.

‘War zone’

A giant plume of smoke rose over the area, about 14km (8.6 miles) north-east of the Mexican capital.

The gas tanker was thought to be travelling north when it crashed into another vehicle, BBC Mexico correspondent Will Grant reports.

At least 30 homes and 20 cars were damaged, according to local media.

Salvador Neme Sastre, secretary for citizen security in Mexico State, confirmed the casualty figures on Twitter but officials fear the number of dead could still rise.

Some of the casualties were asleep in homes in poor areas along the edge of the road. Children were among those hurt.

Television images showed firefighters and rescue workers sifting through the wreckage, but there was no initial explanation as to what caused the crash.

The Mexican government announced measures in 2012 to lower the maximum allowed weight of freight vehicles after a series of crashes involving overloaded trucks.

However, such accidents are still very common, our correspondent says.

Mexican media said the area resembled a “war zone,” with nearby homes and cars completely burned out.

“It was a ball of fire,” resident Carlos Gonzalez Silva told local radio, according to Reuters.

“We opened the door and it was like fire had blown through the whole of the garden.”

Mexican radio station Formato 21 said a family of four, including two children aged 11 and 6, were among the dead.

Dozens of ambulances were at the scene.

The highway was set to reopen gradually, officials said.

For more on this story go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22438925

 

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