At least 51 migrants died in an overcrowded and overheated truck, found Monday evening in San Antonio, Texas, at the end of a tragic journey that still includes many gray areas.
Who are the victims?
Authorities initially reported finding 46 dead bodies and 16 “conscious” but very weak people.
< p>The death toll was raised to 51 on Tuesday – 39 men and 12 women – by local officials, who did not say whether they were patients who died in hospital or whether new bodies had been discovered. /p>
The victims include 22 Mexicans, seven Guatemalans and two Hondurans, with other nationalities still unknown, according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.< /p>
Authorities have identification for 34 of them, but it will take “several days” to establish all their names and notify their relatives, according to local officials.
Among those hospitalized are found four minors, including at least one teenager in critical condition.
How were they discovered?
The truck was abandoned on the side of a road on the outskirts of San Antonio, about 240 kilometers north of the United States-Mexico border.
It was close to car junkyards and auto parts stores, and near an intersection leading to the state highway that connects San Antonio to the Laredo border crossing.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, an employee working in this area heard a call for help coming from the trailer, whose doors were ajar. When he opened them, he discovered the mass grave and immediately contacted the emergency services.
How did they die?
The vehicle looked like a refrigerated truck, but had no refrigeration system or air conditioning, according to San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood.
Those who got out alive “were hot to the touch,” said he said. They suffered from acute dehydration and hyperthermia, and their organs began to fail, said the doctors who treated them.
The Temperatures neared 40 degrees in San Antonio on Monday and were likely much higher in this enclosed, unventilated space.
Who is responsible?
Three people were arrested, but local police chief William McManus said he was not sure of their involvement in the tragedy.
From Many smuggling rings are active on the US southern border and they regularly use heavy goods vehicles to smuggle migrants into the country.
< p>On June 14, border guards had already discovered around 80 foreigners from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador hiding in a truck at the Laredo border post. Three weeks earlier, they had intercepted a trailer with 48 people on board near Sierra Blanca, also in Texas.
President Joe Biden said that this tragedy illustrated the need to fight against smugglers, “ a criminal industry that brews several billion dollars”.
The opposition accuses him of inciting candidates to migrate by leaving the borders “open”.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128