At least five Canadian tourists and two hotel staff have been killed in a suspected gas explosion at a luxury hotel on Mexico’s Maya Riviera. At least 15 others have been injured.
The blast, believed to have been caused by a build-up of natural gas, blew out windows at the 676-room Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen.
Mainly North American tourists are staying at the hotel complex, which is located about 90km from Cancun on the Caribbean coast.
Two Canadians are reported to be in a critical condition. Others, including two US citizens and Mexican workers at the hotel, are said to be less seriously injured.
The floor of the hotel was blasted through the ceiling by the force of the explosion, blowing out windows and scattering debris over a wide area.
Investigations are under way to see if the hotel, which sits on a concrete platform on a swampy area near the beach, had been properly built.
Quintana Roo state prosecutor Francisco Alor said: “The report suggests an accumulation of gases produced by decomposing organic material in the subsoil, and this gas produced the explosion.”
“Expert examiners and civil defence personnel will have to determine if the underground space filled with swampy water that remained in this zone when the building was constructed four years ago, could have generated this type of gases,” he said.
The Mexican government issued a statement through its embassy in Ottawa late Sunday expressing “its solidarity and condolences to the families of victims who lost their lives or were injured in this unfortunate incident.”
The statement said the government had dispatched personnel from the country’s Secretariat of Tourism to the hotel to “bring support to all tourists who require it.”