MEXICAN state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has confirmed that 24 people have been killed and eight workers are missing following the explosion that devastated the petrochemical plant in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico on 20 April.
Joint owners Pemex and Mexichem initially reported three workers had been killed and 136 injured. However, the number has risen as emergency updates came in and rescue efforts continued. Pemex said fire crews have been able to reach the centre of the damaged portion of the plant, where additional bodies were found.
José Antonio González Anaya, director general of Pemex, said 12 of the bodies have been identified, of which eight have been returned to their families.
Pemex also reported 19 of the injured workers remained hospitalised, with 13 in a serious condition. The company confirmed eight workers are missing. González Anaya met with relatives of the missing workers to assure them the company was using all available resources to find them.
Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico, visited the affected site to monitor the emergency work efforts and also visited the injured. He also expressed his condolences to the relatives of the deceased, and pledged to give all necessary support to the wounded being treated in hospital.
Speaking to the families of the injured, Peña Nieto said, “I understand the anxiety, the worry, the anguish you are going through.”
Luis Felipe Puente, national coordinator of civil protection said the plant poses no risk to local residents as the smoke cloud that surrounded the site has dissipated, and the surrounding storage tanks are now empty.
Pemex and Mexichem said they will continue to coordinate with local authorities to investigate the root cause of the explosion.
Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.