13 killed, 58 injured after explosion at Mexican petrochemical facility

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
MEXICO CITY
Published 21.04.2016 09:45
Updated 21.04.2016 16:01
plume of smoke rises over the State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos' petrochemical plant in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Wednesday April 20, 2016 (AP Photo)
plume of smoke rises over the State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos' petrochemical plant in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Wednesday April 20, 2016 (AP Photo)

A massive explosion at an oil facility in southeastern Mexico killed at least 13 workers, injured 58 and triggered evacuations Wednesday, officials and state-run energy giant Pemex said.

A huge plume of toxic gray smoke could be seen spewing from the plant known as Pajaritos, in the city of Coatzacoalcos. The blast, which was felt from as far as 10 kilometers (six miles) away, forced the evacuation of nearby schools and businesses.

The cause of the explosion at the Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo (PMV) plant was not immediately known. The facility is jointly owned by Pemex.

Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte told Milenio Television that the blast killed three people at the plant. Another 58 people were hurt, according to Pemex.

Duarte rushed to the scene of what he said was "a very strong explosion," where fire crews had the blaze under control.

People living in the vicinity should remain indoors as the "cloud of chemicals" dissipated, Duarte said.

School classes in Coatzacoalcos and five nearby communities were suspended.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter that the government would help the "affected workers and neighbors of the area."

Fires at oil facilities in Mexico are fairly regular occurrences.

Several accidents have occurred at Pemex facilities in recent years.

Last February, a fire at an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed two workers and injured eight more. In 2013, at least 37 victims died in an explosion at the Pemex headquarters in Mexico City.

And a year earlier, 26 people were killed in a fire at a Pemex natural gas facility in northern Mexico.

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