Cancun Explosion

November 15, 2010 by USA Post 

Cancun Explosion, (AFP) – A suspected gas explosion ripped through a Mexican hotel on Sunday, killing five Canadian tourists and two Mexican staff members while injuring 17 other people, said officials who ruled out an attack.

Army and police personnel rushed to the blast and cordoned off the Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast near the major resort city of Cancun.

The explosion killed “seven people, five Canadians — four men, one woman — and two Mexicans who worked at the hotel,” Quintana Roo state attorney general Francisco Alor Quezada told Milenio television.

He said all the dead Canadians were tourists and the Mexicans included a tour guide and the hotel security chief.

He said the death toll rose to seven after one of the seriously injured died.

Quezada said the 17 injured included seven Canadians, two of them in serious condition, two US citizens, and eight Mexicans who worked at the hotel.

An early report said a gas tank exploded in the hotel kitchen, but Quezada said it was caused by natural gas beneath the building.

Decomposing organic waste in a 120-square-meter (1,300-square-foot) pocket beneath part of the hotel lobby was believed to have generated the gas buildup, he added.

He ruled out a premeditated attack as the cause of the blast.

Jeff Zimmerman, who was staying at the hotel, told CBC in Canada that the explosion opened a hole in the floor of the hotel lobby, creating a huge crater.

Canadian consular officials have arrived at the stricken hotel to help tourists still staying there, and Mexican authorities have also contacted the US consulate, officials said.

Playa del Carmen is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the major resort center of Cancun, along what is known as the Maya Riviera. Mexico’s Caribbean coast welcomes about two million tourists every year, mostly from the United States, Canada and Europe.

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