MEXICO City – At least 21 people were killed and 71 were injured on Friday when a pipeline ruptured by suspected fuel thieves exploded in central Mexico as dozens of people tried to fill up containers, state and federal authorities said.
Mexican television footage showed flames leaping into the night sky in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan, in Hidalgo state north of Mexico City, as people screamed and cried for help.
Hidalgo’s governor Omar Fayad told Mexican television that emergency services had registered the charred bodies of 21 people, and that at least 71 others had been injured. However, the blaze had yet to be extinguished, he said.
“There’s still a very hot area where we think the number of injured or dead we haven’t had access to could rise,” he said.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched a major crackdown on rampant fuel theft, which the government said cost the country more than $3 billion last year.
The explosion was one of the worst in recent history in a country that has suffered hundreds of illegal ruptures to its network of oil and gas pipelines. (Reuters)