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Death toll from Mexico pipeline blast rises to 85

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Forensic personnel work at the site of a pipeline explosion in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo state, Mexico, on Jan. 19, 2019. Xinhua

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of people who died from a gasoline pipeline explosion in central Mexico has risen to 85.

Health Minister Jorge Alcocer reported the updated death toll from the Friday blast at a press conference, adding that an additional 58 people were hospitalised.

Earlier reports said the explosion injured more than 80 other people.

The blast followed by a fire occurred on Friday evening when some 800 people in Hidalgo state’s Tlahuelilpan municipality were collecting fuel from a leak at a major gasoline pipeline.

In another development, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo told reporters on Sunday that before the explosion, the pipeline leak had been detected by the military and reported to the state oil firm Pemex.

However, deeming it not an “important” leak, the latter closed the related valve about four hours after the military notification.

The Friday tragedy is one of the worst caused by pipeline explosions in Mexico in recent years. In December 2010, 30 people were killed and 52 others injured in a series of explosions involving two oil pipelines in the central state of Puebla.

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