Tourists Reportedly Among Victims At Kool Beach Restaurant Gas Explosion
A gas explosion has reportedly killed 2 people and injured over 20 more at a popular restaurant in Playa del Carmen. Reports are still coming in confirming the identities of those affected but tourists may be involved.
According to State Police, the source of the explosion was a gas tank in the kitchen of the Kool Beach restaurant. At the moment, it is reported that the two people killed by the explosion were restaurant employees. Most of those injured were also employees, and the remaining number were customers.
Reports from different outlets have conflicting numbers. Some have listed the number hurt as 18 while some local news outlets have suggested more than 20 with four of them foreigners. The nationalities injured were Cuban-American, Panamanian, and Spanish. The rest were Mexican employees.
The Secretary of Health reported that four of those injured are in a serious condition in hospital.
Pictures and videos of the restaurant show the destruction caused by the explosion. The front side of the restaurant is almost completely blown out and several awnings have collapsed. The national guard and police were seen evacuating the injured from the building to safety.
Several videos shared online show flames emanating from the building while tourists stood around filming the building. Some other nearby restaurant workers immediately sprung into action with fire extinguishers to help settle the flames.
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that Cancun and the surrounding area of Quintana Roo have experienced tragedy rooted in gas issues. In 2018, an American family of four was killed in Tulum after a gas leak in a water heater poisoned them in their sleep. Their bodies were not discovered until their relatives at home reported them missing when they missed their flight.
Back in 2010, another explosion in Playa del Carmen killed two Mexicans and five Canadian tourists.
Quintana Roo is fighting a reputation battle, and tragic events like this are exactly the kind of thing that the tourist industry is trying to fix. Although tourists are still extremely safe in Cancun and the surrounding area, there can be a belief that the region lacks the health and safety structure that can be found in similar destinations in Europe or other Caribbean competitors.
A bigger problem for the state is gang violence. This week’s events happened just a short distance from the shocking assassination of a British ex-pat living in Quintana Roo. The killing was the most recent in a number of high-profile incidents involving organized crime.
The victim in the weekend’s attack was not involved in any illegal activity based on current information, yet still found himself the target of a local gang.
Just two weeks ago, two men were shot to death in a popular Tulum restaurant. Just one day before, the FBI and DEA were in Cancun to work with the local government on security concerns. That meeting was prompted by the high-profile double assassination in the Xcaret Hotel in January. That killing was a factor in the US and Canada implementing a new travel advisory for the region.
Tourists still do not remain the target for the vast majority of these problems. But recent events have shown that the violence is seeping into the popular tourist areas which do put them at elevated risk.
To help fight this, the Government has brought in the national guard to patrol the most popular spots, as well as increasing security camera surveillance. Most restaurants and bars have allowed the police access to their private surveillance to help the police be more proactive in dealing with issues.
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