Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why All The Confusion And Secrecy About That Mexican Truck Blast?

This much is known - a lot of people were killed and wounded when a truck collided with a car near the town of Nadadores in the northern state of Coahuila in Mexico.
Most of the news stories have it that about an hour after the initial wreck a tremendous explosion occurred during the traffic jam that ensued. The confusion began immediately with the truck carrying dynamite, or mining chemicals, or ammonium nitrate. The death toll is put at anywhere from 28 on up, with around 100 to 150 injured.

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The explosion was massive - "More than 60 buildings and 50 vehicles were damaged in the explosion." The initial accident can never be investigated - "Police said they had not established the cause of the initial collision as everyone who had witnessed the accident had died."

What caught my eye about this was that the initial reports of TNT were replaced fairly soon with reports of a completely different type of explosive - ANFO, or ammonium nitrate fuel oil mix. That supposedly was the expolosive used in the cover story lie about the Oklahoma City bombing, but that's a whole 'nuther story.

ANFO is widely used as a mining explosive but almost always is cooked up on site:
"Most mines prepare ANFO on-site using the same No. 2 diesel fuel that powers their vehicles." By all accounts this truck was supposed to be carrying 25 tons. Here's the problem with that - the reason the stuff is combined and then quickly used is because it degrades soon after mixing the N H4N O3 with the oil. It settles, and is no longer useful as an explosive.

Another problem - "ANFO is highly hygroscopic; that is, it readily absorbs water from air. Care must be taken with its storage in humid environments, as any absorbed water interferes with its explosive function. ANFO is also water soluble." Most reports had fire trucks at the scene spraying down the accident.

My guess is that this truck actually was carrying dynamite. Some reports had it that the driver ran, screaming the truck could blow, and other stories had it that house windows blew out up to 1/4 mile away, tangential evidence that something other than ANFO was used because of it's low explosive efficiency. But because of the sensitivity about allowing Mexican truckers to haul deep into the US, a cover story was hurriedly put into place using the old Murrah building stand in, the fertilizer bomb, to try to make it seem less ugly and more, you know, mundane. Too bad NAFTA boosters, didn't work.

The senate voted 74 to 24 the next day to ban Mexican trucks from hauling cargo on American highways.


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