Search for survivors on after Mexican blast kills 32



Published — Saturday 2 February 2013

Last update 2 February 2013 12:15 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

MEXICO CITY: Emergency services worked into the early hours yeterday to find people trapped in rubble under state oil company Pemex’s headquarters in Mexico City after an explosion that killed at least 32 people and injured more than 100.
Scenes of confusion and chaos at the downtown tower dealt yet another blow to Pemex’s image as Mexico’s new president courts outside investment for the 75-year-old monopoly.
Search and rescue workers picked through debris, and investigators sifted through shattered glass and concrete at the bottom of the building to try to find what caused the blast. It was not clear how many might still be trapped inside.
Pemex, a symbol of Mexican self-sufficiency as well as a byword in Mexico for security glitches, oil theft and frequent accidents, has been hamstrung by inefficiency, union corruption and a series of safety failures costing hundreds of lives.
Thursday’s blast at the more than 50-story skyscraper that houses administrative offices followed a September fire at a Pemex gas facility near the northern city of Reynosa which killed 30 people. More than 300 were killed when a Pemex natural gas plant on the outskirts of Mexico City blew up in 1984.
Eight years later, about 200 people were killed and 1,500 injured after a series of underground gas explosions in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city. An official investigation found Pemex was partly to blame.
Pemex initially flagged Thursday’s incident as a problem with its electricity supply and then said there had been an explosion. But it did not give a cause for the blast.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a preliminary line of inquiry suggested a gas boiler had blown up in a Pemex building just to the side of the main tower. However, he stressed nothing had been determined for sure. Others at the scene said gas may have caused the blast.
Not long after the blast, President Enrique Pena Nieto was at the scene, vowing to discover how it happened.
“We will work exhaustively to investigate exactly what took place, and if there are people responsible, to apply the force of the law on them,” he told reporters before going to visit survivors in hospital.
Shortly after midnight, at least 46 victims were still being treated in hospital, the company said.
Pemex said the blast would not affect operations, but concern in the government was evident as top military officials, the attorney general and the energy minister joined Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong for a late news conference.
“I have issued instructions to the relevant authorities to convene national and international experts to help in the investigations,” Osorio Chong said. He later noted that the number of casualties could still climb. Whatever caused it, the deaths and destruction will put the spotlight back on safety at Pemex, which only a couple of hours before the explosion had issued a statement on Twitter saying the company had managed to improve its record on accidents.
Nieto has said he is giving top priority to reforming the company this year, though he has yet to reveal details of the plan, which already faces opposition from the left.
Both Pena Nieto and his finance minister were this week at pains to stress the company will not be privatized.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A small fire broke out on the roof of the Grand Mosque on Monday morning, causing minor injuries to five people, including members of the Civil Defense, one security officer and three workers. The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. and covered an...
JEDDAH: The director general of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, Saleh Rasheed, has said that Sadeer Industrial City, which is regarded as one of the largest industrial cities in the Kingdom, possesses great capabilities that sets it apart as...
DAMMAM: Cheap and out of date cosmetics are causing serious health problems in the Kingdom, including skin diseases, hair loss and cancer, local doctors say.These products are often manufactured incorrectly or contain harmful fats, the doctors were q...
JEDDAH: Several young Saudis have started filming Jeddah’s historic district using cameras mounted on drones to gather professional 3D footage that can be used to build models and create virtual tours.Bandar Al-Mutlaq, owner of the Arab Foundation, w...
RIYADH: The Saudi capital is fully geared for this year’s Eid Al-Fitr celebrations that include an exciting bouquet of entertainment, heritage, sports, artistic and theatrical events.The annual Muslim festivities being organized here by the Riyadh mu...
JEDDAH: As part of its growing supervisory and investigative status, Riyadh Health Department’s forensics center examined 632 cases over the past eight months involving suspected murder, rape and abuse of women and children.Khaled bin Muhammad Hassan...
RIYADH: The Syrian Expatriates Medical Association (SEMA) expressed its thanks on Monday to Saudi organizations and individuals for donating to the campaign to help Syrians affected by the ongoing conflict.SEMA has 1,300 members in Syria and other co...
RIYADH: Inclusion of the Hail rock art in the UNESCO World Heritage List is proof of the Kingdom’s status and cultural profoundness, said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) on Monday.Reacting to the announcement of the fou...
JEDDAH: The Yemeni community has asked the Saudi government to extend the rectification process, which ends Tuesday, claiming that there are many thousands still seeking to get proper identification documents to qualify for work visas in the Kingdom....
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has set up 343 electoral constituencies for the Dec. 12 municipal council elections.This was done on the orders of Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, the minister and head of the General Committee for the Munici...
JEDDAH: Efforts are under way to electronically handle all Haj-related works to achieve speed and accuracy, as well as reduce costs an bring in transparency, Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar has said.Speaking at a workshop in Jeddah on Sunday, Hajjar sa...
JEDDAH: The Board of Trustees of the King Abdullah International Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works on Sunday held its third meeting in Jeddah in the presence of Prince Khaled bin Abdullah, the board chairman, and Prince Miteb bin Abdullah...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health has announced that six people were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the period from June 28 to July 6.The ministry has now recorded 1,045 cases of MERS since June 2012, with 5...
ALKHOBAR: Patient visitations play an important role in the healing process, provided the well-wishers adopt the right approach by speaking and acting in a manner that the sick person’s morale is lifted. However, any wrong move by the visitor may aff...
MAKKAH: The price of residential land has registered a drastic 30 percent drop due to the slump in the market over the past six months, said an online newspaper.According to real estate dealers, the reason behind the decision was the imposition of 30...

Stay Connected

Facebook