Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican Tamaulipas state gas plant blast kills 26

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Media captionFootage shows the burning aftermath of the explosion

An explosion followed by a fire at a gas plant in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas has killed 26 people.

Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, said the fire broke out at around lunchtime at its gas facility outside the city of Reynosa, near the border with the United States.

Pemex said 26 workers had died, 22 contractors and four company employees.

The cause of the blaze has not been established, but the company says the fire has now been extinguished.

The plant is located by a road linking the cities of Reynosa and Monterrey.

After the explosion, which occurred around 11:00 (16:00 GMT), the road was closed for hours as ambulances and firefighters rushed to the facility to try to control the situation and rescue the wounded.

Mexican troops have also been called in to help.

A similar accident occurred last week at a nearby plant owned by Pemex, injuring four workers.

Another Pemex gas plant in Tamaulipas state was hit by a fire on 13 August, but the company said no one was injured.

Correspondents say illegal tapping at pipelines in northern Mexico, usually carried out by criminal gangs, is the cause of many accidents at Pemex facilities.