Monday, February 18, 2019, 11:10:42 AM

Mexico pipeline blast kills 21

International Desk |
Update: 2019-01-19 3:10:53 PM
Mexico pipeline blast kills 21
Photo: collected

At least 21 people have been killed and 71 more injured in an explosion at an oil pipeline in Mexico.

It is believed the blast occurred after the line was ruptured by suspected oil thieves in the town of Tlahuelilpan, in Hidalgo state.

Officials say dozens of people had been scrambling to fill up containers when fire broke out on Friday evening.

Footage on local television showed large flames and people at the scene with severe burns.

Fuel theft, known locally as "huachicoleo" (or moonshining) is rampant in some Mexican communities.

The government has said the practice cost the country about $3bn (£2.3bn) last year.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December, has launched a major crackdown.

Pemex, Mexico's state-owned petroleum company, said in a statement that the fire was caused by illegal tapping.

Thousands of marines have been deployed to guard pipelines and transport has been shut down altogether in places.

The policy has led to increased reliance on tanker deliveries and there have been widespread reports of fuel shortages and long lines at petrol stations across the country.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1510 HRS, JAN 19, 2019

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