Over 30 killed in Mexico dynamite truck explosion

Monday, September 10, 2007

More than 30 people have been killed and 140 people injured when a truck carrying dynamite exploded in Mexico shortly after being involved in a road traffic accident near Sacramento, Coahuila.

The lorry collided with another vehicle on a busy Northern Mexico highway, and the wreckage quickly drew a large crowd of onlookers. Shortly after the spectators arrived, the vehicles burst into flames, causing the dynamite to explode, engulfing nearby cars.

The explosives had originally been intended for delivery in Coquimatlan, Colima, for use in coal mining. The truck had just left an Orica explosives facility where the dynamite had been manufactured.

The explosion left a crater ten feet by 40 feet, and was powerful enough to blast out the windows of a passenger bus a quarter of a mile away. There are conflicting reports of death and injury counts, with the Associated Press giving the toll as 34 dead and 150 injured, and BBC News Online as 37 dead and 'dozens' injured.

Most of those injured were onlookers and emergency response personnel. The scene was attended by police, the military and other emergency services workers.

The fate of the driver is unclear, but some unconfirmed early reports say he fled the scene of the accident. The death toll is believed to include three local reporters who were covering the crash.