Search on for Mexico blast survivors

Rescue and recovery operations on the way at an oil company headquarters in Mexico.
Rescue and recovery operations on the way at an oil company headquarters in Mexico.

MEXICO CITY — Rescuers have been working overnight to find survivors trapped after a deadly blast at the Mexico City headquarters of the state oil company, Pemex.

Some 500 rescuers helped by dogs are searching the building for a number of people thought to be trapped by a blast that killed 25 people and injured 100.

Relatives of employees have gathered in search of information – some trying to reach loved ones via mobile phone.

The cause of the blast is under investigation, Pemex says.

Yesterday afternoon’s explosion in the lower floors of a building adjoining the 54-storey Pemex skyscraper happened as shifts were changing, making the area particularly crowded.

Debris from the blast spread out on to the street in front of the building.

Red Cross ambulances and helicopters were shuttling the injured to hospital, while firefighters and soldiers dug through chunks of concrete with a crane to reach trapped survivors.

One distraught relative, Ana Vargas Palacio, told Associated Press she had spoken to her husband, who works in the building, two hours before the blast.

“I called his phone many times, but a young man answered and told me he found the phone in the debris,” Vargas said.

Police cordoned off the streets around the building, which is located in a busy commercial area of Mexico City.

Rescuer German Vazquez Garcia told AP there was “a lot of risk” involved in the search.

President Enrique Pena Nieto and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, who visited the scene of the blast, said Pemex rescue and security teams were working alongside city authorities to help the injured. (BBC)

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