Mexico Pipeline Explosions Leaves Several Wounded and Killed

Jasmeen Rivera, Reporter

More than 73 citizens have died and 74 injured in a pipeline explosion Friday in the city of Tlahuelilpan, in Hildago state, 60 miles north of Mexico City. The tradegy is one of the worst explosions in recent history. The explosion was a ruptured breach caused by suspecting fuel thieves who drilled an illegal tap of the line, triggering a massive fire that engulfed those caught in the blast. Videos that have circulated throughout social media of the outbreak have shown immense amounts of fire and smoke soaring into the sky. Officials have tried identifying the dozens of charred bodies still left at the scene.

“It’s very painful that these practices have become ingrained in our country. The images of people with cans and tanks for taking out gasoline or diesel is an issue that unfortunately extends throughout oil country,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico stated in relation to the event. President López Obrador has made it a prime goal to crack down on fuel theft, on account of the $3 billion in fuel the thieves (or “huachicoleros,” as they are locally called) have stolen from Permex, Mexico in the recent years. “This, unfortunately, shows that we have to eliminate this practice that brings so much tragedy, and that isn’t just a problem in this municipality or this state.”

Fuel theft has been an ongoing issue for the country for a substantial amount of time, drawing in drug trafficking groups such as the New Generation Jalisco Cartel and the Zeltas, known for their acts in violent crime. The pipeline had been initially shut down since December 23rd, but “had restarted periodically since then.” According to Octavio Romero, Hildago states governer, when a drop of pressure was detected, the company closed the nearest valve to stop the flow of gasoline; however, not before 10,000 barrels of gasoline was punctured by thieves in the rest of the pipeline. Mexico’s military has secured the blast and are assisting to identify the victims bodies.

Hundreds of citizens gathered around the site of the explosion, many denying the request to leave the area once concerned for their safety. “It’s very sad for the state of Hidalgo,” stated Fayad, “Today we are in mourning, and Mexico is in mourning, for the victims.”