The death toll from Friday’s fuel pipeline explosion in central Mexico has climbed to 66, the governor of the country’s Hidalgo state said.
Governor Omar Fayad also said Saturday at a news conference in Mexico City that at least 76 others were injured.
Authorities initially said 20 people had been killed and at least 60 others were badly burned.
A leak and the resulting blast were caused by fuel thieves illegally tapping into the pipeline in Hidalgo state, officials said.
Video footage showed the fuel gushing into the air and people collecting the oil in buckets, garbage cans and other containers before the explosion.
“I urge the entire population not to be complicit in fuel theft,” said Hidalgo Governor Fayad. “Apart from being illegal, it puts your life and those of your families at risk.”
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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has launched a crackdown on oil theft, called on “the entire government” to assist the people at the site of the fuel explosion.
The government says fuel theft costs the country about $3 billion a year. (VOA)