Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz — A leak caused a deadly petrochemical plant blast that has killed at least 13 people and the toll could rise, Mexican oil company Pemex said on Thursday April 21. The explosion was the latest in a series of fatal accidents to batter the company, Reuters reports.
Pemex CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, who traveled to the site of Wednesday’s blast near the port of Coatzacoalcos, one of Pemex’s top oil export hubs, told local television it was unclear what caused the leak that prompted the blast.
The massive explosion at the facility’s chlorinate 3 plant in the Gulf state of Veracruz also injured 136 people, 13 of those seriously.
“We know there was a leak, what we don’t know is why, but everything points to an accident,” Gonzalez Anaya said, revising the death toll up to 13. He said 18 people were unaccounted for.
Gonzalez Anaya said there was an odor of ammonia in the area, and the company was investigating.
Calling it a “tragic accident,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said at an event in Mexico City that he would head to the region to attend to victims.
The blast occurred at a vinyl petrochemical plant that is a joint venture between Pemex’s petrochemical unit and Mexican plastic pipe maker Mexichem.
Shares in Mexichem were trading 5.5 percent lower in early trading on Thursday.
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