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 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT