At least four dead, sixteen injured in Mexico platform blast

Mexico City: An explosion and subsequent fire has ravaged an offshore platform operated by Pemex, a Mexican state-run oil and gas company, with local reports saying at least four people are dead and forty five injured.

The incident occurred around 3.40am on Wednesday, on the Abkatun Permanente oil processing platform located in the Abkatun oil field in the Bay of Campeche near the coasts of the Mexican states of Campeche and Tabasco.

In a statement on the incident, Pemex said that over 300 people were evacuated, and of the forty-five injured two were in a serious condition and had been taken to Mexico City for treatment.

“There was nothing you could do but run,” said Roger Arias Sanchez, an employee of Pemex contractor Cotemar who escaped the burning platform in an evacuation boat.

Videos posted on Twitter showed the platform engulfed in flames, lighting up the night sky, as rescue workers looked on from nearby ships.

Helicopters ferried workers with bandaged hands and faces and burn marks on their overalls to Ciudad del Carmen, where crowds of relatives of the workers waited outside hospitals.

The source of the explosion was the dehydration and pumping area of the platform Pemex said, adding that there was no spill from the incident, only a runoff of hydrocarbon which is being monitored by specialized vessels.

At least ten firefighting boats attended to the emergency and the blaze was extinguished by Wednesday night, Pemex said in a Twitter post.

The Abkatun Permanente platform largely serves to separate gas, oil and other petroleum products, and pump them to refineries onshore. It produces around 40,000 barrels per day (bpd), output which has now been suspended.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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