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Two babies and a nurse killed after gas truck blows up outside children's hospital

There were at least nine more babies on the injured list.

Updated 8.05am

A GAS TRUCK blew up outside a maternity hospital in Mexico City today, killing at least two babies, injuring dozens and trapping others after the building crumbled.

Rescuers with dogs scoured the rubble of the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in the Cuajimalpa borough for people who were stuck following the huge blast, which rocked the neighbourhood.

Mexico Hospital Explosion Source: AP/Press Association Images

Officials gave various death tolls throughout yesterday but overnight, Health Secretary Armando Ahued said a nurse and two babies were killed. He said the nurse and one baby died instantly, while the second child died later in another hospital. He added that 73 people were injured and nine babies were in delicate condition.

The Red Cross said nine babies were taken to three hospitals in the capital.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Mothers save babies

Relatives of survivors recounted how some mothers saved their babies.

Jose Eduardo Manriquez, 22, came out smiling from the Enrique Cabrera hospital, where his wife and newborn son were taken after the blast. They were both doing well.

“My wife grabbed the baby, turned over and the ceiling fell on her. It didn’t hurt her,” he said, adding that she complained of chest pains, which doctors attributed to gas inhalation.

His wife was rescued by a police officer and she walked out of the rubble barefoot.

Jose Miguel Venegas, 30, visited his 26-year-old wife and third son, who was born Wednesday night.

“She protected the baby. She held him in her arms and the ceiling fell on top of her,” Venegas said, adding that she suffered face injuries.

Israel Santiago, a 29-year-old security guard, had a similar story.

My wife says that the roof fell where she was. But luckily she was trapped between the bed and the crib with the boy in her arms. She protected him.

Neighbours recounted smelling a strong odour of gas and then hearing an explosion that shattered house windows and caused doors to slam.

Adults with bloodied faces were rushed into ambulances.

***

Around three-quarters of the building collapsed after the blast, which took place at around 7am after workers were unable to control a pipe leak, Mancera said.

Mancera told MVS Radio that the zone was evacuated “for safety because a lot of the people are babies in the crib area.”

The newborn emergency care area was among those hit, said Adrian Rubalcava, president of Cuajimalpa borough. He said 100 people were in the building at the time of the tragedy.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

The truck’s three operators were detained, and two of them were in hospitalised, Mancera said. Their employer was identified as Nieto Express, which has serviced the city since 2007.

‘Big bang’ 

Neighbours recounted smelling a strong odor of gas and then hearing an explosion that shattered house windows and caused doors to slam open.

Adults with bloodied faces were rushed into ambulances. Relatives waited for news outside a security cordon and the smell of gas remained strong in the area.

“I’m waiting for information about my niece who gave birth yesterday (Wednesday),” said the woman’s aunt, Martha Catellanos Nunez.

We are desperate. We know nothing.

Ivan Rodriguez, 28, said he was at home with his brother next to the hospital and thought an earthquake had hit the city.

“I went into the bathroom while my brother was sleeping. Suddenly I heard a big bang,” he told AFP. “The house’s doors opened as if they were kicked open and I shouted: ‘Let’s go, it’s trembling!’”

Source: AP/Press Association Images

An employee at a primary school said children were sent home after the explosion.

“It smelled like gas before the explosion,” she said.

Mancera said firefighters were allowing the tanker fire to continue to empty the gas, and that it is under control.

- © AFP 2015.

First published 29 January

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