Explosions at the headquarters of Mexican state oil firm PEMEX killed at least 25 people and wounded more than a hundred. Among the dead are 17 women and eight men, while around 50 are still hospitalised.
Three blasts in the space of a few minutes damaged the basement and two floors of the Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) offices in Mexico City yesterday afternoon Mexican time.
Rescuers poured onto the scene with search dogs to dig people out of the rubble with the help of a crane.
The incident took place around 3.40pm, just before workers were due to clock out 4pm. The skyscraper is one of three linked towers in the Administrative Centre which has more than 10,000 people passing through the doors every day.
PEMEX was founded in June 1938 after foreign oil firms were nationalized. In 2010 it produced an average of two and a half million barrels of crude oil a day, according to its website.
Miguel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s Interior Secretary yesterday expressed “deep sorrow for the loss of life”.
At a press conference yesterday he said: “Right now the priority is to attend to the victims, the wounded and their families, and to comply with the instruction of the President to remove every last rubble, in order to make sure that no one person trapped.”
The cause of the explosion at the skyscraper has not yet been discovered. An anonymous source told Reuters it may be linked to a gas boiler in a neighbouring building. When asked at the press conference yesterday whether he would dismiss the possibility of an “attack”, the Interior Secretary said he and the President did not want to “speculate”.