23 dead, dozens injured in explosion of propane tanker on Mexico City – Pachuco Expressway
The accident occurred just after 0500 Tuesday morning when a double tanker truck loaded with propane gas allegedly lost control hitting the center divider on the 8 lane super highway between Mexico City and Pachuco in the blue collar suburb of Ecatepec.
The tractor and double trailer unit operated by TERMOGAS XALOSTOC and capable of carrying 45 tons in each tank was driven by Juan Olivares, 36 was heading south from the city of Pachuco after loading at a PEMEX facility when the accident occurred. Olivares is being detained at a local hospital by Federal authorities and could face manslaughter and property damage charges once investigators determine the cause according to a statement by Jose Luis Cervantes, an assistant state prosecutor for Mexico state.
Octavio Perez, president of the Mexican Association of Liquefied Gas Distributors and Related Companies (Amexgas) released this statement:
“The company involved in this crash, which goes by the trade name “Commercial Distribuidora SA de CV”, assumes full responsibility and liability for the crash.:
Perez also stated the double tanks have a carrying capacity of 45 tons each and were filled to 90% capacity at the PEMEX facility in Pacheco as mandated by Mexican law.
Perez went on to state:
“This unit by virtue of the simple fact that gas was loaded at a Pemex terminal, I can assure you that it met all the standards and regulations that applied to the transport of hazardous materials. I am certain it complied with the standard 012 of the Ministry of Communications and Transport, weights and dimensions, regarding the transport of LPG established by the Directorate of the Ministry of Energy and was not a pirate or outlaw transporter, but a company incorporated and legally established. As, well I can assure you that it was not overweight.
We are waiting for the investigation to be completed by the experts as we, do not know what happened, Termogas is a legally constituted company, very serious in his dealings and a member of the Amexgas. The transport truck was providing services to a third party between Pemex and its plant because it operates as distributor and carrier in the central part of the country.
As we wrote last year, Mexico has long allowed much heavier weights on it’s roadways than we do on ours,albeit with the appropriate permit, which many fail to obtain.
After a series of accidents involving legally loaded, but heavy double trailers and after protest from the Mexican drivers throughout Mexico, the SCT took steps to put an end to heavy trailers. In October of last year, the SCT extended the restriction for six months while adopting the new policy.
And ironically, Tuesday, the SCT announced the formation of a panel of 8 highly accredited experts determine what changes need to be made to NOM- 012-SCT-2-2208 to lower weight limits on all of Mexico’s highways, a change that has wide spread and strong support from CANACAR and other transport associations in Mexico including drivers.
NOM-012-SCT-2-2208 allows doubly articulated vehicles with a gross weight up to 80 tons and a length of 31 meters so they can move within all roads within the Federal jurisdiction.
As for the tanker explosion, 23 are confirmed dead, 29 seriously injured including 7 in critical condition. One of these, an infant, was airlifted to Brooks Army Burn Center in San Antonio Texas for treatment.
The cause, as far as we can determine at this hour,has not been established. .At that early hour, the beginning of rush hour, a vehivle could very well have forced the driver into the divider, as well as a blown tire or simply driver inattention. The same problems we see every day here in the United States.