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Mexico fuel theft tragedy death toll rises to 125

File photo of Mexican pipeline blast. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico Feb 04, 2019, 11.48 AM (IST)

The death toll from a fiery pipeline explosion in central Mexico last month reached 125, the government announced Sunday.

Another 22 people remain in hospital, many of them with burns covering at least 80 per cent of their bodies, the social security office IMSS reported.

On January 18, the fuel-line in Hidalgo state was deliberately punctured, drawing hundreds of people looking to gather gasoline before it ignited.

The disaster occurred as the government wages a huge effort to clamp down on fuel theft, which costs Mexico an estimated three billion dollars in 2017.

So-called "huachicol" — as the stolen fuel is known in Mexico — costs about half of the market price. 

Mexico is regularly rocked by deadly explosions at illegal pipeline taps, a dangerous but lucrative business whose players include powerful drug cartels and corrupt Pemex insiders.