PLAYA DEL CARMEN,, Mexico — Mexican officials have launched a homicide investigation into the explosion at a Playa Del Carmen resort that killed five Canadians.
They say they want to determine whether negligence led to the blast at the Grand Riviera Princess Hotel on Sunday morning.
The explosion also killed two Mexican citizens and wounded six Canadians who were near an exclusive part of the resort that costs extra.
Adrien Cardena, a spokesman at the Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office told The Canadian Press that homicide charges are possible against whoever is determined to be responsible.
He said the investigation will look at whether faulty construction or lax maintenance led to an accumulation of gas, which is believed to be the cause of the explosion.
Engineers, architects and scientists are all part of the team examining what happened, Cardena added.
He said it could take between two weeks and a month for the results.
The explosion blew out windows in a lounge area and left behind a metre-deep crater, littering the lawn with concrete and debris.
Soon after the explosion Sunday, officials said they thought the blast was caused by a buildup of gas from a nearby swamp.
Later, they said they believed a broken sewer line may have caused methane gas to build up.
The Canadians killed were Malcolm Johnson of Prince George, B.C., Chris Charmont and his nine-year-old son John of Drumheller, Alta., Darlene Ferguson of Edmonton and Elgin Barron of Guelph, Ont.
A hotel bartender and a guard also died.
Earlier this week, Jesus Puc, the director of the civil protection agency, requested new methane-detecting equipment to check other hotels in the area.
He said no gas was detected in an inspection of the Grand Riviera Princess four or five months ago, but the inspectors’ equipment was designed to sense cooking gas.
Prosecutor Francisco Alor Quezada said earlier this week that the state was pursuing legal action against hotel management, saying they tried to bar entry to him and other investigators immediately following the explosion.
The army eventually accompanied them onto the grounds.