At least 55 migrants killed, dozens injured in Mexico truck crash
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Dec 9 (EFE).- At least 55 migrants were killed and more than 70 were injured on Thursday after the truck they were packed into overturned on a highway in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, officials said.
The accident occurred at around 3.30 pm (21:30 GMT) when the truck crammed with mostly Central Americans overturned on a bend on the highway connecting the city of Chiapa de Corzo with the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
National coordinator of civil protection Laura Velázquez Alzúa, who went to the scene, said that so far 152 migrants have been counted and, of them, 55 were killed, 73 were injured and 24 were unharmed.
Without giving a specific number, she added that many minors were injured and that authorities are trying to identify the dead and injured.
Videos circulating on social media showed the magnitude of the accident, one of the worst of its kind in Mexico.
Luis Manuel García Moreno, head of civil protection in Chiapas, said that, according to statements of the injured, the trip began in the city of Comitán de Domínguez in Chiapas near the border with Guatemala, while witnesses have indicated speed as a factor in the crash.
“The testimonies indicated that the truck was speeding, and when it took a sharp curve it overturned and the trailer in which the migrants were traveling broke off,” García Moreno said.
Witnesses said some survivors fled the scene of the accident, while others, despite being in a state of shock, continued their journey, while others hid for fear of arrest.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed sorrow over the accident.
“I deeply regret the tragedy caused by the overturning of a trailer carrying Central American migrants in Chiapas. It’s very painful,” he wrote on Twitter.
Residents of the area have started to leave candles at the scene to signify peace and rest for the victims.
“The neighbors come to pray and leave a candle for the victims for their good journey. It was difficult to see so many dead people and the children crying,” one resident, Armando Aguilar Padilla, told Efe.
The migration crisis hit Mexico hard in 2021 with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of mostly Central Americans and Haitians to the country seeking to reach the United States.
The Mexican government has drawn criticism for its treatment of migrants and the current deployment of tens of thousands of armed forces officers on the northern and southern borders for control tasks, as part of cooperation on immigration matters with Washington.
Faced with this scenario, human smugglers take the opportunity to transport people illegally.
Mexican authorities intercepted 228,115 migrants and deported 82,627 from January to October 2021, numbers not seen in more than 15 years. EFE