At Least 50 Migrants Found Dead Inside Abandoned Truck in Texas

An abandoned truck with at least 50 dead migrants was found on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, US authorities reported.

According to fire reports, rescuers took 16 seriously injured survivors, including four children, to nearby hospitals. All were “hot to the touch” and suffering from heat exhaustion and heatstroke, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.

The grim discovery was made early Monday evening after a city worker heard cries for help from inside an abandoned vehicle in an undeveloped area located southwest of San Antonio near the train tracks.

“We’re not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there. None of us come to work imagining that,” Mr. Hood said, adding that emergency responders rushed to the scene around 18:00 local time (23:00 GMT).

The fire chief said the abandoned truck had no working air conditioning or drinking water inside.

San Antonio is about 250 km from the US-Mexico border. The city has become a major transit route for human smugglers, who often transport undocumented immigrants in trucks after crossing the border into the United States.

On Monday, San Antonio’s summer weather reached 39.4C. The victims are suspected to have died from dehydration and heat exhaustion.

US authorities first reported that 46 bodies had been found. However, the death toll had increased to 50, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Tuesday morning.

Mr. López Obrador revealed that 22 victims were Mexican citizens, while seven were from Guatemala and two from Honduras. The nationality of the other 19 people killed is unknown.

The Mexican president also vowed to provide assistance to the deceased’s relatives.

San Antonio Police Chief William P. McManus said three people had been taken into custody and turned over to federal agents after the find. However, it is not yet clear if they were related to the case.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the deadly incident “nothing short of a horrific, human tragedy,” adding: “They had families… and were likely trying to find a better life.”

It was the deadliest human smuggling case in modern North American history. However, similar but smaller stories have been reported in San Antonio before. Ten immigrants were found dead inside a trailer truck outside Walmart in 2017.