Illegal tap at pipeline death toll hits 115,many hospitalized,dozens missing in Hidalgo
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The Canadian Press
20 dead, 71 burned in fire at illegal tap on Mexico pipeline
1 hour ago
Mexican pipeline kills 20
(Provided by Reuters)
MEXICO CITY - A huge fire exploded at a pipeline leaking fuel in central Mexico on Friday, killing at least 20 people and badly burning 71 others as locals were collecting the spilling gasoline in buckets and garbage cans, officials said.
The leak was caused by an illegal tap that fuel thieves had drilled into the pipeline in a small town in the state of Hidalgo, about 62 miles (100 kilometres) north of Mexico City, according to state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.
Video footage showed dozens of residents near the town of Tlahuelilpan gathered to collect spilled fuel in buckets, garbage cans and other vessels. It appeared an almost festive atmosphere as whole families gathered in a field as a geyser of fuel spouted dozens of feet into the air from the tap.
Footage then showed flames shooting high into the air against a night sky and the pipeline ablaze. Screams could be heard.
Hidalgo Gov. Omar Fayad said 20 people were killed immediately and 71 suffered burns in the blast at the duct that carries fuel —apparently gasoline — from the Gulf coast to Tula, a city just north of Mexico City.
"Caring for the wounded is our top priority," Fayad said.
Pemex attributed the blaze to "the manipulation of an illegal tap."
Military personnel watch as flames engulf an area after a ruptured fuel pipeline exploded, in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declared an offensive against fuel theft and the blast will further focus attention on the $3 billion per-year illegal industry.
"I greatly lament the grave situation Tlahuelilpan is suffering because of the explosion of the duct," Lopez Obrador tweeted. He called on all branches of government to assist the victims.
Hidalgo state police said the leak was first reported at about 5:00 p.m. local time.
"There was a report that residents were on the scene trying to obtain fuel," according to a police report. Two hours later, the pipeline burst into flames.
And another pipeline burst into flames in the neighbouring state of Queretaro, but the Mexican army reported nobody was hurt. A charred vehicle at the scene of that fire also suggested fuel theft may have been involved.
It is not the first time such an accident has occurred.
In December 2010, authorities blamed oil thieves for a pipeline explosion in a central Mexico near the capital that killed 28 people, including 13 children.
That blast burned people and scorched homes, affecting 5,000 residents in an area six miles (10 kilometres) wide in San Martin Texmelucan.
Lopez Obrador launched an offensive against fuel theft after taking office Dec. 1. Thieves drilled about 12,581 illegal taps in the first 10 months of 2018 and the country has deployed 3,200 marines to guard pipelines and refineries.
The new administration has also shut down pipelines to detect and deter illegal taps, relying more on delivering fuel by tanker truck. But there aren't enough trucks, and long lines at gas stations have plagued several states.
However, fuel theft gangs have been able to win the loyalty of whole neighbourhoods, using free gas and getting local residents to act as lookouts and confront military patrols carrying out raids against the thefts.
It is unclear whether Friday's tragedy would turn the tide of opinion against the gangs in the impoverished villages that lie above the underground pipelines.
Just saw this on the TV news so there's no link to post but a British freelance journalist reporting from Mexico City says the Military was there before the blast but orders from above were to withdraw because of the sheer numbers of people there and didn't want to cause a big scene and as soon as they backed off Kaboom.This journalist also said which is speculation at this point that organized crime may have deliberately blew it up because they didn't want the locals doing a free for all but he said this will be investigated.
During the early morning and yesterday morning, experts finished collecting the remains of those killed in the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline explosion. Later, some people entered the field in the hope of recognizing some of the fatalities. Photo: AP
Of course all it would take is someone once not being mindful and some teenager innocently lighting up a cigarette with that amount of gas vapour in the air it probably wouldn't take much or even someone using a cellphone with the static electricity setting it off.I'm actually surprised this hasn't happened more often with all these illegal taps but of course these were all with the help of 'the experts' who would advise of dangers.Add the general public to the mix and everything changes.Just my opinion anyway.Apparently this happens quite often in Nigeria and happened in Viet Nam with the locals during the war.
Re: Illegal tap at pipeline death toll at 85;58 hospitalized,dozens missing in Hidalgo
The official hypothesis is that the friction of people's synthetic clothes created small electronic sparks. That, combined with gases produced by the high octane levels of the premium fuel, ignited the explosion. That's why people who work in this industry are told to wear special clothes when dealing with these fuels.
A bunch of thieves that got what they deserved . No good Mexican citizen is mourning the lost of these criminals just like those disappeared " normalistas " that wanted to take on the State and found that hijacking buses , burning businesses , and trying to be " anarchists " has a steep price : a violent death . This is just God's divine plan to thin out the herd of criminals and Make Mexico Good ( not Great ) Again . Para acabar con la rabia , a que matar todos los perros .
A little harsh aren't you Tinman?I'm sure a lot were criminals,the lowest of the predatory bottom feeders but probably not all.What did they say 600-700 people there 'panning for gold'?They let this problem (only 1 among many others) fester so I blame the government for letting it get so out of hand.They allowed this to happen unimpeded for years.Now it is almost impossible to take the bull by the horns and wrestle control of the petrol industry back although 100 people dying in an explosion may help AMLO slow things down.