Rescue workers help a man who was injured after a fragmentation grenade exploded next to an open air bar in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, early Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
Amid Mexico's escalating drug violence, grenades have become the latest weapon of choice used by drug gangs, with many of the grenades of Cold War vintage and manufactured in the U.S. or Eastern Europe, according to a recent Washington Post story.
So on hearing that a grenade which wounded at least 15 people was detonated in a nightspot in Puerto Vallarta, a destination once popular with tourists from the U.S. and elsewhere before the surging violence, it was easy enough to assume that someone had rolled a grenade into the bar as part of the cycle of attacks and revenge.
But NPR's Jason Beaubien reports for the network's radio newscast that the governor of Jalisco state says it was an accident.
JASON: The governor of Jalisco, Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, says the grenade went off by accident.
Speaking on local radio, the governor said some young people had brought grenades into the bar "Pink Cheladas" just off the tourist strip in Puerto Vallarta.
One of the young men was carrying a bucket of beers and accidentally tripped the explosive, according to the governor.
No one was killed in the explosion but at least 4 people had to have their legs amputated...
Grenades have become a common weapon of Mexico's drug cartels. This week there have been several grenade attacks in the northern industrial city of Monterrey.
Gov. Gonzalez says the police can't patrol every bar and nightclub... and it's up to bar owners to make sure weapons aren't allowed inside.
Maybe a guy with a bucket of beers did trip and set off the grenade though it would seem to pay to be skeptical about this explanation. My understanding of how time-delay grenades work is that you have to pull the safety pin which allows the striker lever to be released before you throw it.
If grenades were so easily exploded by bumping etc, then they would be a lot more dangerous for troops to carry around than they actually are.
Maybe theres' a grenade expert out there who can tell us about the plausibility of the governor's version of events.
In any event, I don't think it's going to give people, especially tourists but Mexicans too, much comfort to hear the governor call this describe what happened as an "accident."