A week after a similar incident killed people in Nigeria, a pipeline explosion in Mexico has claimed 85 lives and injured 58, with dozens more still missing.
According to news sources, the disaster occurred as people filled containers with gasoline from a pipeline that was illegally punctured. Fuel theft is widespread in Mexico, causing pipelines to be shut down repeatedly for the repair of punctures.
About half the community of Tlahuelilpan – where the explosion occurred – lives in “moderate” poverty, according to government statistics.
The crowd of people stealing gasoline was especially high at the time of the blast because a small leak had been turned into a gush of gasoline after a puncture was enlarged. The gasoline exploded in a fireball that incinerated many people, making post-mortem identification difficult.
The Mexican government has cracked down on fuel theft gangs, resulting in periodic shortages of fuel at gas stations.