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Death toll from Pemex blast rises to 24 with 18 missing

The death toll from Wednesday’s huge explosion at a Pemex petrochemical plant rose from 13 to 24 late on Thursday, with the number of people unaccounted for rising from 6 to 18.

Those figures came from the company CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya who went to the plant near Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz state on Mexico’s Gulf coast.

Earlier on Thursday the death toll had risen from 3 to 13 with the missing persons numbered at 6.

One part of the plant was too hot to be searched.

Dozens of frustrated relatives of plant workers had formed a crowd at the installation gates where they demanded more details about the dead and survivors.

After brief skirmishes with soldiers guarding the facility, they were allowed in in small groups to be shown a list of the confirmed dead.

Plant and government officials and some of the relatives wore facemasks for protections as the air still smelled of ammonia around the plant.

The Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo (PMV) plant is a joint venture between Pemex, the state oil company, and Mexichem.

This disaster is one of several such fatal incidents at Pemex facilities in recent years, adding to the difficulties of the company which is gradually giving up its monopoly position in the oil industry as Mexico tries to reform its energy sector.

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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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