A truck carrying immigrants was found Monday with 46 bodies in its trailer after a hot day in San Antonio, Texas, and three people were arrested, authorities said.
The worst tragedy of migration in recent years comes five years after a similar tragedy in the same city, where ten illegal immigrants lost their lives in a highly heated trailer.
“We have taken care of about 46 bodies so far,” said Charles Hood, the city’s fire chief.
Sixteen people – twelve adults and four children – were treated and taken to nearby hospitals, he said.
“Tonight we face a terrible human tragedy,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Niranberg. “We hope that those responsible for putting these people in such an inhumane situation will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Trucks found in San Antonio, a large city in Texas, 240 km from the Mexican border, are a frequent mode of transportation for immigrants seeking to enter the United States.
Such a journey is very dangerous, especially since these vehicles are rarely air-conditioned and the passengers in it quickly leave without water.
“The patients we saw were hot to the touch, they suffered from heat stroke and heat exhaustion and there was no water in the vehicle,” the fire chief said.
“Call for help”
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told a news conference that the mass grave was discovered by a man working nearby who “heard a call for help” and approached to see what was happening.
Three people were arrested, but “we do not know if they are completely involved,” he said.
The investigation has now been handed over to investigators from the Federal Department of Homeland Security. McManus said.
About 60 firefighters are mobilized to take care of the remains and receive psychological support, their leader Charles Hood said. “You should not open a truck and find piles of bodies in it,” he said of the shock his men suffered.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrat has expressed regret over the “tragedy” on Twitter.
He pointed out that the Mexican embassy in San Antonio went there and learned that two of the four children admitted to the hospital were from Guatemala.
He ruled that the tragedy was “mostly perpetrated by kidnappers.”
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott immediately took the tragedy to blame Democratic President Joe Biden.
“It simply came to our notice then. They are the result of his deadly policy of open borders, ”he said.
The influx of illegal immigrants has increased drastically since Joe Biden’s election, although he has been trying to prevent immigrants from arriving at the White House.
In July 2017, a similar tragedy befell spirits: ten immigrants died in a hot trailer parked in a supermarket parking lot near San Antonio.
At the time, immigration services indicated that the temperature at which dozens of immigrants were housed in the trailer could have risen as high as 65 degrees Celsius.
The truck driver, who said he did not notice about 100 people loaded in his trailer, was sentenced to life in prison in April 2018 without parole.