Toll in Mexico gas explosion lowered to two

Mexico City: The toll in the gas truck explosion Thursday at a maternity and children's hospital here has been lowered to two, correcting an earlier report, which said that seven people died in the incident.

Speaking at a press conference, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said that a woman and a child were killed and 66 others were injured, of whom 22 were in a serious condition, according to an EFE report.

Adrian Rubalcava, the head of the western Mexico City borough of Cuajimalpa, where the hospital is located, said that the confusion over the toll occurred because some people who were unconscious after the explosion were mistakenly reported as dead.

Emergency management officials have verified that two people died, a child and a woman of about 40, he told Milenio Television. More than 100 people were in the hospital at the time of the blast, which officials said was triggered by a major leak in the hose carrying gas from the truck.

"We started pulling babies from the debris who were alive," Igancio, a volunteer at the scene, told CNN. "Fortunately, I think we pulled out seven. We would've wanted to pull out more." Officials said that there were about 20 newborns among those injured and seven of them were reported to be in critical condition.

There were fears that more babies and adults might be trapped in the debris of the hospital, which was on the verge of collapsing after the explosion, said government and emergency officials. Investigators are working to determine what caused the blast, officials said. The truck's driver and two assistants delivering the gas to the hospital have been detained, the Mexico City mayor's office told CNNMexico. Two of the detained workers have been hospitalised, the mayor's office said.

The gas in question is known to be liquefied petroleum gas, a mix that could be mostly propane or mostly butane. These propane/butane mixes are commonly used in Mexico for heating, cooking and other purposes. The international humanitarian agency Red Cross reported that it provided 23 ambulances and more than 40 workers for the rescue efforts. The agency said it transported nine babies to hospitals.

The gas truck belonged to Gas Express Nieto, a gas provider which is among the four biggest gas distributors in Mexico, according to the company. Gas Express did not immediately comment on the explosion. Its Twitter account is private, and its Facebook page appeared to have been taken offline, the CNN report said.

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