On Monday, in San Antonio Texas, a firefighter went to an abandoned truck after receiving calls from a concerned nearby worker who claimed to have heard screams. The firefighter went into that abandoned truck and found the limp bodies of 46 men, women, and children. Upon his discovery, the firefighter said that there were no signs of water in the abandoned truck, parked just next to railroad tracks in a remote area on the city’s southern outskirts. This incident is now acting as the deadliest circumstance of human smuggling along the U.S.- Mexico border.
After finding what was described as ‘stacks of bodies,’ San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters, that they found and declared an approximation of 46 bodies, leaving out details such as age and nationality up to the public, however, it was made clear that no children died. Surprising many was the hopeful news of survivors. Hood told reporters that 16 people had been transported to the hospital alive and conscious; twelve being adults and 4, children.
With Hood telling reporters how those who got saved were hot to the touch, it was clear how horrid conditions were for these potential migrants. Temperatures in San Antonio swelled to a high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday with high humidity. Hood went on in his address to the public to say that these people went without air conditioning as the temperatures rose to dangerous heights.
According to William McManus, the city’s police chief, authorities were first alerted by an emergency call at about 5:50 pm local time (2250 GMT). McManus also mentioned three people being in custody over the incident, however, he expressed that their connection to the incident remains unclear.
After President Biden received an overpour of backlash for tight immigration regulations, A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that its Homeland Security Investigations division was investigating “an alleged human smuggling event” in coordination with local police.
The deaths illustrate the challenge of controlling migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, which have reached record highs. Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard referred to the migrants’ suffocation in the truck as the “tragedy in Texas” on Twitter, and promised that embassy agents would visit the hospitals where the victims had been transferred to help in “any way possible.”
A spokesman for the Honduran foreign ministry told Reuters the country’s consulates in not just Houston, but also Dallas will continue to investigate the incident.