UPDATED: Four more bodies have been recovered from the Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo SA de CV (PMV) plant in Mexico, bringing the number of fatalities from an April 20 explosion to 32.
Mexichem SAB de CV and Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), joint owners of the plant, announced the discovery of the victims in a joint news release April 25 and said six workers were still missing at the site in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
Search and recovery teams have been using drones and specially-trained dogs in the most damaged parts of the Clorados III area.
Six bodies have not yet been identified, the companies said.
Eighteen people remained hospitalized as of April 23.
The company declared force majeure late April 22 for VCM, muriatic acid, ethylene, dichloroethane, and anhydrous hydrogen chloride shipped from the facility.
A PMV spokesman said PMV's annual production is 170,000 tons.
“We still do not know the full extent of the damage to the VCM/ethylene plant in the Clorados III area inside the Pajaritos petrochemical complex and its effects in this region” [of Veracruz],” the company said in an emailed statement late last week.
“At this time PMV cannot predict with any precision when repairs will be completed or when the unit will be operational, or what its impact [will be].
“PMV will provide additional information on this incident as it becomes available and shall continue working diligently to minimize the impact caused by this event.”
The statement was addressed to PMV's customers and signed by Fernando Atilio Torres Della Mea, PMV's chief financial officer.
The explosion occurred at 3:15 p.m. local time in the Clorados III area inside Pemex's Pajaritos complex. Mexichem is one of the world's largest manufacturers of PVC pipe. It has operations in 30 countries and employs 19,200 at 100 different sites.