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rise to 79 dead due to the explosion of the pipeline

The tragedy occurred on Friday, when hundreds of civilians collected petrol with buckets and drums and were surprised by the explosion.

"Then we add another six to the 73 already counted and we can say that 79 Mexicans died because of this explosion," Health Minister Jorge Alcocer told a conference from the presidential palace in the capital of Mexico.

A hospital census indicates that 66 people continue to be hospitalized both in Hidalgo, in the state in which the explosion was registered, and in nearby entities, while serious cases have been transferred to Mexico City because they require more complex treatment, explained the minister.

"There are serious patients with burns of more than 80% (of the body) and of course they have a compromise in their internal tissues, in their organs that provide them with a reserved prognosis," said Alcocer.

In Tlahuelilpan, the city where the gigantic fire occurred, only soldiers from the Mexican army were seen guarding the perimeter of the disaster. They claim that the research efforts ended on Saturday evening.

Several relatives had asked to continue searching for bodies in the explosion site and asked for the return of forensic experts, who found five other bodies.

In the place, which at the dawn of Saturday still exhibited some limed bodies there are no more relatives or curious, only burnt grass is visible.

The Attorney General of Mexico, Alejandro Gertz, said he continued to assess hypotheses about the causes of the explosion of the gas pipeline that had been stung by criminals causing the departure of a powerful jet of fuel, similar to a geyser, according to the pictures of local media.

The escape attracted about 700 settlers who, with buckets and drums, collected gas when they were surprised by the explosion.

People who scream and run while burning in flames, or show severe burns on the body, have also been reported by the media.

Asked if the injured will be considered suspect in the investigation for looting a state structure, Gertz said that they will not "make the communities victims".

"We are going to find those responsible for the acts that generated this great tragedy, victimizing the entire population under a generic hypothesis is not the function nor is it established within the law," he said.

The disaster occurs when the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador runs a strategy to combat the theft of fuel and traffic, popularly known as "huachicoleo", a crime that generates annual losses to the state of about 3,000 million dollars, according to official data.

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