Injured and bleeding, mothers grasping infants in their arms fled from a maternity hospital shattered by a powerful gas explosion Thursday, and rescuers began smashing sledgehammers through fallen concrete hunting for others who might be trapped.
A nurse and a baby died in the blast and a second infant died Thursday night, Mexico City authorities said. More than 70 people were injured in the blast that collapsed about three-fourths of the hospital in Cuajimalpa, but by late in the day rescuers determined no one was left trapped in the rubble.
Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said some of the injured were about to be released from area hospitals.
A 25-year-old nurse and a newborn between 2 and 3 weeks old died at the scene and another infant died several hours later at another pediatric hospital, said Armando Ahued, the city’s health secretary. He had said earlier that 21 babies in all had been injured, and nine of those and seven adults were in serious condition after being rushed to other hospitals.
The explosion occurred at 7:05 a.m. when a tanker truck was making a routine delivery of gas to the hospital kitchen and gas started to leak. Witnesses said the tanker workers struggled frantically for 15 or 20 minutes to repair the leak while a large cloud of gas formed.
People started to evacuate the hospital, and then came a devastating explosion that sent up an enormous fireball and plumes of dust and smoke. Herrera saw injured mothers walking out carrying babies. Officials said 110 people were inside the 35-bed hospital when the truck blew up.