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Tanker truck hit by train, explodes in Mexico City

June 30, 1997

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A tanker truck loaded with natural gas collided with a train Monday, injuring at least six people and sending an enormous fireball into the sky over an eastern suburb of Mexico City.

Television footage showed the truck burning for several minutes before it exploded, scorching the train and part of a passenger car it was pulling.

The train’s crew and shaken travelers in the passenger car were evacuated just after the two vehicles collided, and none appeared to have suffered injuries.

Four policemen working to evacuate the passengers were injured in the blast, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

``We have to make special mention of the heroic valor of those (police) who through their sacrifice, saved many lives,″ said Luis de Pablo Serna, director of Mexico’s National Railways.

The two occupants of the truck were able to escape before their vehicle was reduced to scraps of metal scattered over an area of several hundred yards. The truck driver and his assistant were hospitalized along with the policemen.

The natural gas truck, which was operated by a private company, tried to outrace the train at a heavily-traveled at-grade crossing a mile outside Mexico City limits, police said.

The tanker truck and the locomotive _ operated by the National Railways, a state-owned firm _ were both destroyed in the accident.

A nearby expressway was closed to traffic, and the blast shattered windows in several buildings facing the train tracks.

Update hourly