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  • "The death toll continues to rise

  • at a fatal gas line explosion in Mexico."

  • "Authorities say that the pipeline

  • had been ruptured by suspected oil thieves."

  • People were lighting cigarettes,

  • they were dancing,

  • they were throwing gasoline on top of each other.

  • Completely intoxicated by the fumes.

  • "They took their fill

  • as soldiers sent to guard the pipeline looked on

  • seemingly powerless.

  • Then this happened."

  • And essentially in a matter of seconds,

  • the whole thing ignited.

  • People were running from the blast

  • like human torches.

  • It was complete chaos.

  • "The most important thing now

  • is to look after the injured,

  • to save lives.

  • That is the most important thing.

  • The fight against the illegal theft of fuel

  • will be strengthened."

  • The state loses in the region of

  • three billion U.S. dollars a year

  • and the 95 percent of what is known as

  • tomas clandestinas,

  • which are illegal extractions,

  • are done by big cartels.

  • My name is Matthew Bremner

  • I'm a Scottish writer.

  • I wrote the story about Mexico's biggest pipeline explosion.

  • Within the first sort of 24 hours,

  • people said there were 20 people dead

  • and 71 people injured.

  • Obviously those numbers rocketed up

  • but the final death toll, as it were, is 134.

  • Now in the field where the irrigation trench was

  • where the pipeline runs,

  • framed by an old tree which was scorched in the blast

  • there is now a shrine.

  • Almost every day, relatives of the victims go there.

  • They sit on little plastic benches or wooden crates.

  • They stare at the crosses, often crying.

  • Sometimes in some sort of trance.

  • And they spend hours there.

  • It's the same always in society,

  • the people who are at the bottom of the tree,

  • the people that were there

  • looking to take advantage of an opportunity.

  • They're the people that always suffer.

  • The scale of oil theft in Mexico is enormous.

  • The state loses 3 billion US dollars a year.

  • Huachicolero, which is the illegal siphoning

  • and tapping of fuel

  • which has been happening in Mexico

  • now for about 25 years, perhaps longer.

  • What was a very informal industry

  • has now become something which is far more organized.

  • A lot of the big Mexican cartels

  • are now branching into this sale of oil theft.

  • Half of their business is now focused

  • on illegal fuel tapping.

  • It's a lot less risky, essentially,

  • to get involved in illegal fuel trade

  • because you don't need to transport drugs across borders.

  • You don't need to pay off

  • different types of police in different countries.

  • The corruption inside the big petrol giant,

  • in this case Petróleos Mexicanos, Pemex, is rampant.

  • And so it's quite easy to pay off workers inside,

  • to find out when the oil is flowing

  • through certain pipelines

  • and to rob it

  • and then sell it domestically on the black market.

  • Pemex is one of the biggest oil companies in the world.

  • For a long time it was considered a cash cow

  • for the Mexican economy.

  • It kept Mexico afloat in many ways

  • and people always refer to it

  • as the most important institution that the country had.

  • The government recently released figures

  • that around 80 percent of the tomas clandestinas

  • and the fuel robberies that take place in Mexico

  • are organized in some way by insiders in Pemex.

  • What would normally happen

  • is that they would have a link inside Pemex

  • who would tell them through which pipeline a certain,

  • it could be gasoline, it could be gas,

  • it could be anything,

  • is running and what time and what the pressure is.

  • They would then go down to the specific pipeline

  • normally at nighttime.

  • Normally the pipes are about

  • between one or two meters below the ground.

  • They would dig to get to the pipeline.

  • Then would perforate it with a high-powered drill.

  • Then a professional solderer would come in

  • and he would solder a tap to the pipe.

  • They know exactly what they're doing

  • when they do it

  • and the risks that it entails.

  • So they're professionals.

  • One of the huachicoleros in Hidalgo area

  • told me that in one night

  • the organization that he works for

  • can make up to 90 thousand pesos.

  • If you take into account

  • that an average wage,

  • at least in that area from what people were telling me,

  • is about 15 hundred pesos a week.

  • Then, you know, we're talking serious money here.

  • Around midday there was a rumor that was spread

  • that a pipeline had been perforated

  • and that people were illegally siphoning gasoline

  • from one of the biggest pipelines in Mexico.

  • Around two thirty in the afternoon

  • a patrol of 25 officers from the military arrived.

  • So this was quite an unusual occurrence

  • simply because normally fuel robberies

  • would take place at night.

  • Men, women, and children were turning up

  • in vans, in cars, on foot, and on bicycles and motorbikes

  • and coming to the area in huge numbers.

  • Within the next two-to-three hours

  • what may have been 80 people

  • soon was six times that.

  • It felt like they were almost celebrating

  • in some sort of way.

  • It felt like a water party, I heard people say.

  • Generally, they were just local townspeople

  • who were taking advantage of the situation to get free fuel.

  • One thing that's very important here

  • is the fuel that was running

  • through this particular pipeline was very high octane.

  • Which meant that it released

  • lots of very, very, flammable gasses.

  • Because the day itself was relatively hot,

  • these gasses were sort of floating above the crowd.

  • It hadn't yet got to the stage

  • where it was low enough to be ignited.

  • So around six o'clock when it began to get darker

  • and the temperature dropped,

  • those gasses also dropped.

  • And so they sort of began to smother the crowd.

  • Now the interesting thing is that the fire

  • created inside a cigarette butt

  • is not hot enough to ignite petrol

  • but what is hot enough is static electricity.

  • And what would have probably happened

  • is that a static shock would have come from somewhere

  • where there were two hands that were being shaken

  • or friction created between two people

  • rubbing up against each other.

  • And that would have created a static shock

  • which would have been hot enough

  • to ignite these gasses

  • which had now sunk down.

  • And essentially within a matter of seconds,

  • the whole thing ignited.

  • And as the ignition of the fire settles down somewhat

  • then you see the people running from the blast.

  • And this is perhaps the most impactful moment

  • because the people that are running from the blast

  • are in flames.

  • Some of them trip over.

  • Some of them run towards the road.

  • Some of them are rolling on the ground.

  • Some of them are crying for water.

  • The local paramedics came in first

  • from the surrounding villages

  • and when they got to the field,

  • they saw people sort of writhing on the floor in agony.

  • They saw charred bodies that were completely incinerated.

  • Sort of falling apart.

  • People that were in their last moments of agony but

  • burned into that position.

  • What they saw was the most horrific thing

  • that you could possibly see, I can imagine.

  • The Mexican government has declared war on huachicolero.

  • Are they winning it?

  • I think it's far too early to say.

  • Will they win it?

  • Well I think if the drug war is anything to go by

  • then probably not.

"The death toll continues to rise

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B1 中級

メキシコの致命的な燃料盗難が暴走している (Mexico's Deadly Fuel Thefts Are Out of Control)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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