Seven die in Mexico hotel blast

| Nov. 15, 2010 |

Mexico, Mexico City—Five Canadians and two Mexicans have died in what appears to be a natural gas explosion in a hotel near the Mexican resort of Cancun. A nine-year-old boy was among the Canadian tourists who died.

At least 17 more people were injured in the powerful blast at the 676-room Grand Riviera Princess Hotel in Playa del Carmen, 70 km south of Cancun.

Initial investigations appear to show that the explosion was due to a natural gas buildup beneath the building rather than gas used for cooking. Decomposing organic waste and the presence of a mangrove swamp may have led to the buildup.

Two Canadians are in a critical condition in hospital while two holidaymakers from the United States, five Mexicans and seven more Canadians suffered less serious injuries, according to Francisco Alor, attorney general of Quintana Roo state.

No fire broke out and it was solely the force of the blast which led to the deaths and injuries. The floor of the building was apparently thrown up through the ceiling which blew out windows and sent fragments of material over the hotel’s lawn.

Two security guards have been arrested after attacking reporters with pepper spray at the scene, reported El Universal, however, there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the blast itself.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has yet to confirm the deaths of its citizens.

Cancun will play host to the United Nations Climate Summit in two weeks as world leaders hope to bring about a binding deal between countries on climate change.