Gas explosion flattens Mexico City maternity hospital

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

An explosion on Thursday morning destroyed a state maternity hospital in Mexico City, Mexico. A nurse and two babies are dead.

Cquote1.svg I feel grateful to have another chance to keep living, to keep working as a nurse Cquote2.svg

—Ivonne Lugo Durantes, injured survvor

Initially reports placed the fatalities at seven. Local officials including Mexico City Health Secretary Armando Ahued and Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera have since revised the figure downwards. Over 70 people including 20 infants are wounded. Around 100 people were in the building at the time.

The explosion occurred as a truck was resupplying the hospital's gas tanks, and a leak developed in the supply hose. Driver Julio César Martínez and assistants Carlos Chavez and Salvador Alatorre have been arrested. Chavez and Alatorre spent around fifteen minutes attempting to stem the leak, to no avail. All three are amongst the injured.

Firefighters and federal police entered the ruins to recover trapped survivors. Victims' relatives, and other bystanders, gathered at police cordons around the scene. "I am still a little bit in shock. It was a nightmare," said nurse Ivonne Lugo Durantes.

Durantes was rescued after ten minutes trapped beneath debris. She has first degree burns but is "grateful to have another chance to keep living, to keep working as a nurse." She witnessed other staff rescuing babies amid a conflagration.

New father Jose Eduardo told reporters his wife ran barefoot with their baby to escape. Eduardo said some escaped nude. Witnesses around the hospital reported a strong smell of gas, a large explosion, and flying debris. Ambulances and helicopters were used to evacuate casualties.

President Enrique Pena Nieto and Pope Francis both took to Twitter to express support for the victims.


Sources

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