MEXICO CITY -- At least 26 oil workers were killed Tuesday and several dozen injured in a huge explosion and fire along a natural gas pipeline in northeastern Mexico, officials said.
Officials with Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, the state-owned oil giant, said they were investigating the cause of the explosion, which ripped through a distribution plant, sent orange flames into the sky and forced temporary evacuations of parts of the area in Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas.
Pemex initially said 10 people were killed and 40 injured. Later, via its Twitter account, the company raised the death toll to 26. It did not update the number of wounded but said four of the dead worked for Pemex and 22 worked for contractors. It was not clear if that included foreign companies.
Pemex's vast operations in Tamaulipas, a violent state dominated by drug cartels, have suffered thefts of gas and oil and the kidnappings of numerous workers.
-- Tracy Wilkinson
Photo: A Mexican army vehicle patrols as fire and smoke rise from a gas pipeline distribution center in Tamaulipas state. Credit: El Manana de Reynosa / Associated Press