Mexican Resort Blast: What Went Wrong?

New details emerge in this exclusive CBC News investigation into the deadly blast at a Mexican resort hotel in November 2010.

The explosion that ripped through the lobby of one of Mexico's luxurious beach resorts, the Grand Riviera Princess on the idyllic west coast of the country's Yucatan Peninsula, dubbed the Mayan Riviera, shattered lives and shook the confidence of some of the millions of Canadians who travel to Mexico to escape the cold winter. In the end, on the morning of November 14, 2010, seven people died in the blast, including five Canadian tourists, and eighteen others were injured. In Mexico and in Canada, the losses were mourned.

Then came the questions.

The initial explanation blamed a build-up of gas from a nearby swamp as the cause of the deadly explosion, but CBC News' Adrienne Arsenault's new report tells a much different story of what caused the blast, and provides new details about the response on the ground after it happened. And it is cold comfort for those whose lives were forever changed under the sun of a vacation getaway.

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Read an email from the Director of the Hotel Grand Riviera to CBC News

Mascia Nadin is the Directora General of the  Hotel Grand Riviera Princess & Hotel Grand Sunset Princess  

From M. Nadin, received at 5:34 pm ET   "...there was absolutely no delay in getting ambulances past the front gate of our resort: 066 ( local emergency number) was called just moments after the tragical explosion occurred. Being our resort few  miles away from Playa del Carmen, it took 18 minutes for the ambulances to reach here and they entered our facility without stopping.

Regarding the treatment received from our guests, I can honestly say that we did everything possible to handle such a devastating incident in the best possible way: I`m sure you agree that no resort in the world, can be fully prepared to handle a tragic situation of this size.   Nevertheless all that we could do during those frantic moments, apart calling for rescue and emergency units, was trying to assist the wounded guests, calming those who witnessed the accident and try to limit the access to the affected area, of  the numerous extraneous people (i.e: local press and photographers) who just wanted to take advantage of the situation .  As you can imagine, during the very same day of the explosion, many of the guests (we had more than 3 thousand) were informed of what just happened and many others were simply enjoying a beautiful day of sunshine in one of the numerous spots of our large property. We wanted to avoid panic to spread and at the same time we were trying, together with the different T.O. representatives to give information: believe me: not an easy task we might have delayed to give information to some of our guests but the overall situation required other urgent priorities to deal with.

I also would like to remark that since November 14th (date of the accident) we`re keeping on supporting both the families of the workers who tragically lost their lives during the explosion and the wounded ones, three of whom are still getting our support for medication and rehabilitation training in a first class Hospital, Hospiten Cancun.

Concerning the cause of the explosion, the final statement of the local authorities after a full investigation conducted on different levels and with various expertises, gives as result a leak from a nearby gas line. This line was NOT improperly placed and until now,  no expert can state 100% why there was a leakage from this line, which was installed less than three years before during the construction of our property."