Skip to main content

23 dead in Mexico tanker blast

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 10:53 PM EDT, Tue May 7, 2013
Burned cars are pictured in a highway in Ecatepec near Mexico city, on May 7, 2013.
Burned cars are pictured in a highway in Ecatepec near Mexico city, on May 7, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The death toll after a fiery tanker crash rises to 23
  • Witness: "There was a flash, then a noise, and the ground began to shake"
  • The driver is in the hospital but under arrest
  • A tanker transporting gas crashed and exploded, police say

Read this story in Spanish

(CNN) -- A speeding tanker truck carrying gas crashed and exploded in a huge fireball along a highway near Mexico City Tuesday, killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens more, officials said.

"There was a flash, then a noise, and the ground began to shake," said Dulce Gonzalez, who lives in the neighborhood where the tanker plowed into homes early Tuesday morning.

Flames engulfed cars and houses near the explosion, video from CNN affiliate Foro TV showed.

As crews searched for survivors, residents combed through the burned out shells that remained where their homes once stood. Some rescuers removed livestock and pets from the charred ruins.

The federal highway division of the office of Mexico's transportation secretary said in a statement Tuesday night that 23 people had been killed.

Salvador Neme, the secretary for citizen security in Mexico state, said two of the victims were children.

According to initial reports from police, the tanker was speeding and the driver lost control, crashing into several homes and cars before exploding, Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency reported.

Federal highway officials said 26 people were injured after the explosion. Half of them were in serious condition.

The driver of the tanker was also in the hospital but under arrest, Neme said.

The blast occurred in the municipality of Ecatepec, in the state of Mexico.

At least 45 homes were damaged and 16 vehicles burned in the city, a large suburb near the nation's capital, Ecatepec Mayor Pablo Bedolla said.

Authorities opened a shelter in the area for 100 people left homeless after the fiery blast.

CNNMexico.com's Mauricio Torres and CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 8:14 PM EDT, Sun April 20, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT