Death toll is highest since same week last year when truck loaded with explosives crumpled into dozens of vehicles
Dozens killed in Mexico road accident
A Mexican truck carrying a load of cement was blown up by a remote-controlled explosive device as it headed back to the central city of Aguascalientes from Mexico City, killing at least 41 people, rescue workers said on Thursday.
The deadly accident late on Wednesday was the country’s deadliest since 28 people were killed when a truck packed with explosives and others packed with gas cylinders was driven into Mexico City’s main square in August last year.
Authorities said they had discovered the deadly device under the truck, and that forensic tests were being carried out on a mobile device they found at the scene.
Red Cross volunteer Luz Marina Perez told Televisa news that 14 wounded people were still being treated at one of the emergency rooms at Aguascalientes’ medical centre.
The catastrophe happened when several trucks filled with cement were travelling together on a highway outside of Aguascalientes, just outside Mexico City, when the explosion happened.
Alfredo Coutino, deputy director of Mexico’s national civil protection institute, said the death toll had reached 41, including 24 people who died at the scene.
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“When ambulances arrived, there were still victims suffering from grave injuries,” he told reporters, saying rescue workers were still searching for survivors.
Rescue workers said a heavy metal truck carrying tiles was the initial target of the explosion.
“There was a huge boom, it shook my house,” said Manuel Navarrete, a resident of Aguascalientes. “When I got out of the house I saw debris blowing everywhere.”
In Mexico City, many people quickly rushed to the scene after the blast to lend a hand to the emergency workers.
Guadalupe Valenzuela, 29, said she worked at a waste management company and when the blast happened, “I felt like I were losing my breath,” she said. “I knew then that we needed to get there to help.”
She said the government was helpful in helping to help the victims.
“They brought 25 ambulances, two helicopters, they put us in an area where we were separated into four groups,” she said.
Rescue workers gathered next to an overturned black SUV, and several men sat nearby chatting as a truck with the damaged SUV was loaded onto a tow truck.
Dozens of bodies were lined up on a concrete base that protected them from the elements as rescue workers slowly removed them with stretchers. Some were covered in blankets.
Earlier in the day, the mayor of Aguascalientes, María de la Luz Vazquez, held a press conference to confirm the death toll of 14 and said 22 people had been injured.