Forty-six people were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer near San Antonio as they tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to the Associated Press, 16 people, including four children, were taken from the scene to a hospital.
Monday evening, a city worker heard a cry for help from the truck and found the abandoned tractor-trailer, said Police Chief William McManus.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the 46 people who died likely had “families who were likely trying to find a better life.”
“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” Nirenberg said.
Police said they do not know the home countries of the deceased immigrants or how long they had been abandoned. The 16 people were taken to the hospital for heat-related illnesses.
“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” said Fire Chief Charles Hood. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”
Those in the trailer were part of a presumed migrant smuggling attempt into the U.S., and the investigation was being led by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations,” McManus said.
The scene is among the deadliest migrant-related tragedy in recent years. In 2017, ten migrants died after being trapped inside a truck parked at a San Antonio Walmart. In 2003, police found the bodies of 19 migrants in an abandoned truck also near San Antonio.
Crossing the border in a big rig has become more popular since the 1990s. Previously, migrants paid small fees to operators to help them cross the border, but as border restrictions have become stricter, migrants have had to pay thousands more and face dangers such as unforgiving terrain and extreme heat.
“With the border shut as tightly as it is today for migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, people have been pushed into more and more dangerous routes. Truck smuggling is a way up,” Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, wrote on Twitter.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jordan Vonderhaar/Stringer
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.