Mexico hotel blast kills Canadian tourists, hotel staff
- 15 November 2010
- From the section US & Canada
At least five Canadian tourists and two hotel staff have been killed in an explosion at a luxury hotel on Mexico's Caribbean coast, officials say.
The blast, believed to have been caused by a build-up of natural gas, blew out windows at the 676-room Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen.
At least 15 people were injured.
Scores of Canadian visitors are staying at the hotel complex, located in an area known as the Maya Riviera, about 90km (55 miles) from Cancun.
One child is reported to be among the dead.
Two Canadians are reported to be in a critical condition. Others, including two US citizens and Mexican workers at the hotel, are said to be less seriously injured.
Quintana Roo state prosecutor Francisco Alor said the floor of the hotel was blasted through the ceiling by the force of the explosion, blowing out windows and scattering debris over a wide area.
He told local media that investigations were under way to see if the hotel, which sits on a concrete platform on a swampy area near the beach, had been properly built.
"The report suggests an accumulation of gases produced by decomposing organic material in the subsoil, and this gas produced the explosion," he said.
"Expert examiners and civil defence personnel will have to determine if the underground space filled with swampy water that remained in this zone when the building was constructed four years ago, could have generated this type of gases," he said.
One of the guests, Pete Travers, told the Canadian Press news agency: "It was chaos. There was blood and injuries from flying glass and debris."
He said that he and other guests grabbed deck chairs from the pool area to use as makeshift stretchers.
Mexican army and police have cordoned off the hotel.