Refinery Blast Kills 26 in Venezuela, Dozens Hurt
A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery and unleashed a ferocious fire on Saturday, killing at least 26 people and injuring more than 80 others in one of the deadliest disasters ever to hit the country’s key oil industry.
Balls of fire rose over the Amuay refinery, among the largest in the world, in video posted on the Internet by people who were nearby at the time. Government officials pledged to restart the refinery within two days and said the country has plenty of fuel supplies on hand to meet its domestic needs as well as its export commitments.
At least 86 people were injured, nine of them seriously, Health Minister Eugenia Sader said at a hospital where the wounded were taken. She said 77 people suffered light injuries and were released.
Officials said those killed included a 10-year-old boy, and that 17 of the 26 victims were National Guard troops stationed at a post next to the refinery.