Death toll in Texas truck climbs to 50, Mexican president says
Mexico City/Los Angeles, Jun 28 (EFE).- The death toll from a group of migrants who were discovered inside a truck in southern Texas has risen to 50, Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday.
On Monday, the bodies of dozens of migrants were found inside a lorry on a backroad in San Antonio, in what the authorities have called one of the deadliest incidents in the region’s recent history.
The deceased include 22 Mexican nationals, seven Guatemalans, and two Hondurans, while the nationalities of 19 others have yet to be confirmed, Obrador said during a press conference.
The Mexican president blamed the “poverty and desperation” that is pushing central American and Mexican migrants to risk their lives on the perilous journey to North America.
San Antonio officials placed the death toll at 46 on Monday night and said that another 16 people, including four children, had been taken to local area hospitals.
“The patients that we saw were hot to the touch. They were suffering from heat stroke, heat exhaustion,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said at a press conference, adding there were no signs of water or working air conditioning in the vehicle.
Temperatures in San Antonio reached around 40ºC on Monday.
Three people have been taken into custody, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.
The truck was found after a nearby worker heard cries for help coming from inside, and upon investigation saw the doors partially open, he added.
The discovery was made on the outskirts of San Antonio, near the Lackland Air Force Base.
Homeland Security Investigations has taken over the investigation.
“The plight of migrants seeking humanitarian refuge is always a humanitarian crisis. Tonight we are dealing with a horrific human tragedy,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg at the press conference.
The Mexican consulate in San Antonio said it would provide support to any of its nationals involved, while the country’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard sent his condolences to the victims.
“Tragedy in Texas. Reportedly suffocated in trailer box. Consul en route to the point. Condolences to the victims and their families. We don’t know nationalities yet,” he wrote on Twitter.
Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott blamed Democratic President Joe Biden for the deaths, saying “they are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate running against Abbott, said the incident was “devastating.”
“We need urgent action – dismantle human smuggling rings and replace them with expanded avenues for legal migration that reflect our values and meet our country’s needs,” he wrote on Twitter. EFE