A powerful gas tank truck explosion destroyed a maternity and children’s hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring more than 60. Rescue workers are digging through rubble, searching for victims following the explosion.
Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told MVS radio that the body of a woman was found inside the hospital and many people were injured by flying glass. He earlier told the Televisa network that at least 54 people were injured, 22 of them children. Most of the injuries were relatively minor, he said.
CCTV America’s Franc Contreras reported this story from Mexico City.
Mexico City gas blast at maternity hospital, injures more than 60A powerful gas tank truck explosion destroyed a maternity and children's hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring more than 60. Rescue workers are digging through rubble, searching for victims following the explosion. CCTV America's Franc Contreras reported this story from Mexico City.
“The rescue crews are working to locate or dismiss that there are more survivors in the rubble. Approximately, 1,000 rescuers are working manually in the rubble,” Mexico City Mayor Mancera said.
The accident began when a Gas Express Nieto tanker was on a routine delivery to the hospital. As the gas company workers connected a gas hose to the hospital’s kitchen, suddenly it began leaking uncontrollably. After more than 15 minutes, the workers shouted warnings for everyone to evacuate.
This is the gas truck that exploded at a Mexico City children’s hospital. The death toll is rising. pic.twitter.com/C7zvZGrBxf
— Franc Contreras (@FrancMex) January 29, 2015
Fausto Lugo, the city’s civil defense director, said in a television interview that the death toll had risen to two. He said 37 people were transported to other hospitals and he said other people were likely still buried in the rubble.
The explosion sent a column of smoke billowing over the area on the western edge of Mexico’s capital and television images showed much of the hospital collapsed, with firefighters trying to extinguish fires. Mancera said the heaviest damage was near the hospital’s loading dock.
“Yes, I was in front, right in front. We had to go back running inside the house because pieces of concrete were falling everywhere. We went back into the house to avoid being hit, and then the ashes started to fall,” eyewitness Maria Ofelia said.
The blast was so powerful, it broke windows half a kilometer or more than 30 miles away.
“It was like an earthquake, everything was shaking with the explosion. The houses’ windows broke,” a witness who did not give his name said.
Borough chief Adrian Rubalcava said the injured were being taken to a nearby hospital, but the area had insufficient ambulances.
“The most worrisome is the collapse of a large part of the hospital,” Rubalcava said.
A Mexican newspaper has reported the company has a record of poorly maintained equipment.
Last year, it was involved in another gas truck explosion that killed three. Among the survivors – new born babies and their frightened mothers.
This story is compiled with information from CCTV America and Associated Press reports.