Bolivia factory explosion: more than 100 people killed and at least 70 injured

Footage shows floors reduced to piles of dirt from blast at Makerfon factory in Boliva

Bolivian officials have said a cement factory explosion on Sunday left between 100 and 150 people dead. A woman’s arm is shown being severed after the explosion which was triggered by a wastewater leak.

The explosion at Makerfon cement factory killed 90 to 125 people, and left 70 injured, Carlos Nieto, a fire brigade commander, told television broadcaster TV Globo. He said the disaster occurred at around noon local time near the capital, La Paz.

A family distraught and facing the danger after the Factory explosion. Photograph: Gustavo Gallegos/Reuters

“It is a horrible scene in the plaza of the concrete factory,” he said.

Twenty-two survivors remained in hospitals after the explosion in the capital of Bolivian territory. According to one woman who spoke to media, her husband was one of those injured in the blast.

Officials said they evacuated 40 workers, but two-thirds of the floor had been leveled by the blast that caused a fire.

Bolivia’s health minister, Daisy Leonor Castro, said 10 people are dead and 70 were wounded.

One of the injured, Mercedes Cid, told Argentine radio she escaped from the factory when the explosion happened.

“I saw my son, my niece and my best friend hurt by what happened,” Cid said. “I jumped from the fourth floor to the first and then I just ran.”

Flame from the factory’s crushing cranes appear to have burned the walls of La Paz city hall and a building in the city center, forcing officials to evacuate the facility. A giant fire truck from nearby Santa Cruz — the nearest city — also had to be used to put out the blaze.

Cases of human waste and injured animals were also reported outside the blast zone. The Santa Cruz governor, Marcos Balzano, told reporters about 10 hours after the blast that some 30 people had been rescued from various buildings.

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