Nine killed in Mexico ammonia leak

Rescue workers stand near two burnt police patrol vehicles at the scene of an explosion on a Pemex oil pipeline in Tonanitla, near Mexico City July 21, 2013.

OAXACA - At least nine people died and 40 others were hurt when road workers accidentally punctured an ammonia pipeline in southern Mexico, officials said Wednesday.

Some 1,500 people were evacuated from surrounding towns following Tuesday's incident near the rural municipalities of Matias Romero and Barrio Soledad.

State-run energy firm Pemex and the Oaxaca government confirmed the death toll.

The pipeline broke when it was hit by a backhoe used by construction workers widening a road. The police and army have blocked the road.

It is the latest accident to hit Pemex, a state-owned monopoly that has suffered deadly blasts at several facilities and pipelines in recent years, including a gas leak explosion that killed 37 people at its Mexico City headquarters earlier this year.