At least 66 people are dead and dozens more are injured or missing after an illegal tap caused a gasoline pipeline to rupture and explode Friday night in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, the state's governor says.
Hidalgo Gov. Omar Fayad said at least 85 people were listed as missing on Saturday after a huge explosion in the small town of Tlahuelilpan, about 62 miles north of Mexico City.
State oil company Pemex, which operates the pipeline, said the explosion was caused by illegal taps set up along the pipeline by fuel thieves. The fires were still burning as of Saturday morning.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tweeted that emergency crews were working to treat the dozens of wounded, while others were working to put out the remaining fires.
"I'm very sorry for the serious situation in Tlahuelilpan due to a pipeline explosion. I'm in Aguascalientes and since the director of Pemex and the defense secretary briefed me, I gave instructions to contain the fire and treat the victims," López Obrador wrote.
The governor added in his own tweet that fuel theft endangers the safety of Mexicans, calling on the country to "not be complicit" in the crime.
The video below shows fuel thieves stealing from the very pipeline that ultimately exploded. What you see pouring our of the ground is gasoline!
"I call on the entire population not to be complicit in the fuel theft," he said. "This, in addition to being illicit, puts your life and the families at risk. What happened today in Tlahuelilpan should not be repeated."
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The explosion came three weeks after López Obrador began a crackdown on fuel thieves drilling illegal taps into pipelines. According to the AP, fuel theft gangs drilled illegal taps 12,581 times in the first 10 months of 2018.