At least 11 people were killed and dozens more injured following a massive explosion in the Dominican Republic’s San Cristobal town on Monday. Top emergency official Juan Manuel Mendez has released an updated death toll, adding that there are “more corpses” unaccounted for.
President Luis Abinader paid a visit to the gutted area less than 30 kilometers from the capital Santo Domingo, where fire had engulfed multiple buildings and a huge column of smoke was still visible hours later. 37 of those injured remain hospitalized according to Mendez while Abinader expressed his condolences to affected families. The cause of the blast is still being determined.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic confirmed on Monday that a four-month-old baby was among the fatalities from Thursday’s explosion in San José de Ocoa. With several businesses damaged and vehicles left scorched, President Luis Abinader vowed that “all that is humanly possible” would be done to search for the missing people.
As pictures of the missing circulated on social media, dozens of people descended on nearby hospitals looking for their family members. Meanwhile, witnesses described hearing loud rumbling as “the windows of the house shook strongly,” according to Listin Diario newspaper.
What caused the deadly explosion is still unknown, but some of the injured from the blast have reportedly suffered burns to up to 40 percent of their body. The combination of a hardware store, a veterinary clinic, and a plastics factory in such close proximity has raised some suspicion of a hazardous materials accident. Though authorities are still investigating and giving no specific details, President Abinader has reassured that all possible efforts are being deployed in the search for more victims.