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Three more bodies found in rubble of Mexico skyscraper explosion; death toll hits 36

Bernardo Montoya / Reuters

A makeshift memorial to victims of the Pemex skyscraper explosion was erected near an entrance to the headquarters of Mexico's state-owned oil giant. The number of confirmed dead reached 36 over the weekend as more bodies were pulled from the rubble. No cause has been found.

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican rescue workers found three more bodies over the weekend amid the rubble of a deadly blast that tore through state oil firm Pemex's main office complex on Thursday, the government said as search efforts appeared to near a close.

The death toll from Thursday's explosion stands at 36, Pemex said via Twitter. Rescue workers had been digging through the last sections of the building's basement and may soon call off their search. One person was reported still missing, and at least 121 people were injured.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo said on Friday that it was too early to say whether the explosion was due to an attack, an accident or negligence, but he promised results of an investigation in the coming days.

Murillo toured the site on Sunday but did not publicly comment on the progress of the investigation. Officials have communicated details through social media about the disaster, which struck just before a long holiday weekend.

A powerful explosion shook the building housing the headquarters of Mexican oil giant Pemex. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

The investigation will test confidence in President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose Institutional Revolutionary Party ruled Mexico for most of the last century but lost power in 2000, when it was accused of fostering widespread corruption.

Local media reported the three bodies were maintenance workers. A woman who worked as a secretary was still missing, but she was unlikely to be found so deep in the wreckage.

The blast occurred two months into Pena Nieto's presidency, just as Congress was preparing to discuss his plans to open up the state-run energy industry to more private investment.

Hobbled by heavy state taxation, Pemex saw production slump in the last decade and its safety record has been stained by a series of deadly accidents, including an explosion that killed about 30 at a gas facility last year.


PhotoBlog: Aftermath of the explosion

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