MEXICO CITY — More than two dozen people were killed and scores more injured when a trailer truck hauling several tons of highly combustible chemicals exploded after colliding with another truck in the state of Coahuila in northern Mexico, officials reported Monday.
Some of those killed or hurt included police, soldiers, rescue workers and photographers who had rushed to the scene of the crash. The truck's cargo exploded, shooting a fireball into the sky and leaving a crater 65 feet wide and 9 feet deep in the concrete road, federal police officials said.
"We were waiting about 100 meters from the crash when there was an incredibly loud bang," said Silverio Alfonso Amador, 44, who was in the traffic jam and survived the explosion but suffered extensive facial burns.
"Suddenly there were flying rocks and a fireball," Amador told the Reuters news agency.
While state authorities placed the total number of dead at 29, federal police reported that 37 people had been killed. A reported 150 people were injured.
It has not been determined whether the driver of the truck that exploded was among the dead. Some early reports suggested that he might have fled the scene.
The truck's cargo has been variously reported as dynamite and chemical fertilizer.
The force of the blast damaged several neighboring houses and blew out the windows of many others, according to Reuters.
The accident occurred on a highway near the town of Nadadores, in a region where mining of coal and gypsum is a major industry.
The truck that exploded reportedly had recently left the Orico Explosivos Mexicanos plant and was said to be headed southwest to Coquimatlan in the south-central state of Colima.
Times wire services were used in compiling this report.