Last updated on January 21, 2020
Tlahuelilpan, Higaldo — A high pressure leak in a Pemex pipeline unleashed a shocking explosion that has claimed 85 and sent more than 50 to hospital.
The accident occurred Friday afternoon around 5:00 p.m. when news of a gasoline leak in a Pemex pipeline spread throughout the area. Dozens of locals rushed to the site with containers and large buckets to get in on the free fuel, however, it wasn’t long before tragedy struck.
As dozens swelled to hundreds, people continued to arrive in an attempt to fill their containers with the spewing fuel that was shooing out under high pressure, several meters into the air.
For more than two hours, gas gushed skyward, landing on the ground creating small rivers, however, in a moment, the spewing fuel ignited and became a massive fireball that, to date, has claimed the lives of 85 people, sending 58 to hospital.
Hundreds of residents of Tlahuelilpan rushed to the scene to look for loved ones while police and ambulances attended to the injured.
Within hours of the incident, the governor of Hidalgo, Omar Fayad, activated the DN-III Plan in Tlahuelilpan in order to help the population and normalize the situation.
So far it remains unknown who started the gas leak or if it was a fault in the pipeline.
In press conference Sunday, the head of the Ministry of Health, Jorge Alcocer and the governor of Hidalgo, Omar Fayad reported death toll had risen to 85 adding that 58 people remain hospitalized, one of which is a minor receiving care at the Shriners hospital in Galveston, Texas.
The president expressed his condolences to the victims and their families, saying “Regardless of the legal aspect, we are with them for humanitarian reasons.”
In some areas of Mexico, siphoning fuel from Pemex pipelines is a way of making a living. Each year, the company looses millions to the huachicoleos, the term given to those who steal fuel for a living.