Coatzacoalcos, Mexico – Local authorities have reported 13 deaths from an explosion at a Mexican petrochemical plant on Wednesday. The incident took place in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and the number of injured workers has remained in 88 since the last official report.
From those 88 injured 13 of them are suffering from serious injuries and had been hospitalized due to their delicate condition. The cause of the explosion is yet unknown but workers from the plant are beginning investigations as the affected equipment gets cold, according to an statement from Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX).
“We toured the affected area of the complex, unfortunately preliminarily located 13 people dead,” said Mexican Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente said on Twitter. Due to the delicate situation of some hospitalized workers and some others who are still not found, the number of deaths could keep rising. Yet further investigations are required to locate any other injured people as rescue teams have still not made a full walkthrough.
The state-owned plant assured that they will continue monitoring the quality of the air to determine the possible presence of harmful substances in it, which can lead to health risks in the surrounding population. Emergency protocols took place and communities nearby were evacuated, said local authorities at the site of the incident.
Hundreds of family members of injured people in the plant have gathered in the area to demand information about the workers. They have been waiting since the explosion, and even though there were asked to leave due to the inevitable inhalation of toxic fuels, they refused. There’s people still missing and their families want to know what happened to them, even if that means standing at the site of the incident inhaling toxic fumes.
Ancelma Cordero, whose 21-year-old brother is one of the missing persons in the plant, commented to Reuters that local authorities indeed have asked her to leave, but she said that if they, the family members, leave “they could make the bodies disappear”.
The scene in the petrochemical plant has been described as a “carnage” by Sergio Sanchez, a superintendent at the company Prometalica, who is helping to identify missing workers in the incident, as reported by Bloomberg.
But the latest incident, although is the worst one yet, is not unique for the company. The Mexican petrochemical plant has been struggling for the low oil prices and the overwhelming debt in their hands. In February, one worker was killed by a fire at the same plant where 13 workers lost their lives after the incident.
In 2013, 37 people were killed by a blast at Pemex’s headquarters in Mexico City, and others 26 died in a fire at a natural gas facility in northern Mexico in 2012, as reported by Reuters.