At least 21 people were killed and dozens were injured after a gas pipeline in the Mexican state of Hidalgo exploded on Friday night, AP reported. The blast was caused by an illegal tap used to steal fuel from the Tuxpan-Tula pipe, said state-run energy company Pemex.
Video from the scene showed what appeared to be gasoline spouting into the air, according to AP. Omar Fayad, the governor of Hidalgo, tweeted that more than 70 people were injured in the explosion in Tlahuelilpan, a town about 129 km north of Mexico city. “What happened today in Tlahuelilpan should not happen again,” he said.
President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador tweeted that he had “called on the whole government to provide assistance to the people at the site.”
The authorities have sent ambulances, medical specialists and other personnel to the blast site and burn victims are being transferred to hospitals in Mexico City, The New York Times reported.
The North American country is in the midst of a petroleum crisis, with areas in and around the capital facing shortages. This has given rise to criminal activities, with gangs known as huachicoleros siphoning gasoline from pipelines in order to resell it. Obrador has made it his priority to stop the gangs, saying they cost the government at least $3.14 billion (Rs 22,374 crore) last year.