Death toll in Mexico’s petrochemical plant explosion rises to 32

  • AFP, Mexico City
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2016 22:14 IST
A man holds a wreath as he attends wake of one of the victims of an explosion in the Pajaritos Pemex Complex in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico. (AFP Photo)

Rescuers have recovered the bodies of four more people killed after a petrochemical plant explosion that spewed a toxic cloud into the air last week, bringing the toll to 32.

The bodies were found on Sunday in one of the most difficult areas to access at the plant in the town of Coatzacoalcos, in the eastern state of Veracruz.

DNA tests will be needed to identify the bodies of six people killed in Wednesday’s blast at the plant co-owned by the state oil company, Pemex, and a private company, Mexichem.

More than 100 people were also injured in the explosion, though most have already been discharged from hospital, authorities said.

Workers have complained that leaks occurred prior to the accident and the tragedy could have been avoided had this problem been addressed.

Pemex has acknowledged that a gas leak was behind the explosion but the circumstances are still being investigated.

A blast at the same plant 25 years ago killed at least six people, although local media insist the number is much higher.

In recent years, there have been several deadly mishaps at Pemex installations, such as accidents at plants or gasoline explosions in pipelines tapped by criminal groups trafficking fuel.

Even its headquarters -- a skyscraper in the heart of Mexico City -- was hit in January 2013 by a blast caused by a gas buildup, killing 37 people.

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