More than 46 bodies have been found inside a tractor-trailer near the Lackland Air Force Base in the city of San Antonio, state of Texas, USA, located near the border with Mexico. Likewise, another 16 people have been found alive and transferred to hospitals in the area, police sources reported.
A local official said the people in the trailer were believed to be immigrants and that the case could be an alleged cross-border smuggling attempt. In this context, it could be the deadliest tragedy that occurs during an attempt to cross the United States border from Mexico in recent decades, collects AP.
According to the Reuters news agency, a law enforcement official has confirmed the news while providing information on the matter. San Antonio’s KSAT television quoted unnamed local police sources as saying more than 40 people had died inside the 18-wheeler.
“Immigrants seeking asylum should always be treated as a humanitarian crisis, but tonight we are facing a terrible human tragedy,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote in a tweet. “More than 40 lives were lost. I urge you to think compassionately and pray for the deceased, the sick and their families at this time,” he added.
For his part, Gustavo García-Siller, Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio, pointed out that “once again, the lack of courage to confront immigration reform is killing and destroying lives.” “We don’t learn,” he expressed in his message.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus reported that the authorities received an alert from a worker in the area where the truck was found, who heard a cry for help and went to investigate its origin. Meanwhile, the city’s fire chief, Charles Hood, said he had “high hopes” that all 16 hospitalized people would survive.
All suffered the effects of the high temperatures, which that day touched 37 degrees Celsius in San Antonio, added to the fact that inside the truck there was no water or “no visible air conditioning device in operation on that platform.”
Report from our Consul: 46 deaths from suffocation, 16 transferred to hospitals, including 4 minors. Two Guatemalans have been identified in this last group. The trailer has EU plates, superimposed, to circulate without revision. Very likely authorship of traffickersMarcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Relations
Sources also told KSAT that 16 people were transported to area hospitals with various conditions.
Footage taken from a helicopter showed police vehicles, ambulances and fire engines at the scene as an investigation appears to be underway.
Close-up footage of the scene was shared on Twitter by KSAT’s Leigh Waldman, who wrote, “On the way to a possible human smuggling case off of Quintana Rd on the south/southeast side.”
A tracking image shared by the reporter showed a San Antonio Fire Department mass casualty evacuation ambulance near the truck.
“We talked to the neighbours in the area,” Waldman said in another tweet.
“They are shocked and horrified, telling us that people come here looking for a better life and work and this is the reality they find.”
Border Patrol agents arrived at the scene, which was located next to the train tracks, around 8:00 p.m. m. of Monday.
KSAT’s Patty Santos shared a photo on Twitter of rescuers “walking along the train tracks with thermal imaging cameras looking for people in the nearby woods.”
Speaking to CBS affiliate KENS 5, Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities, said: “We know that many people have been taken to hospitals.
In 2017, 10 migrants died after becoming trapped inside a truck parked at a Walmart in San Antonio. In a similar situation in 2003, 19 migrants were found in a heated truck southeast of San Antonio.