(USA Today) Forty-six people were found dead and 16 others were taken to hospitals Monday after a tractor-trailer containing suspected migrants was found abandoned in a remote area of San Antonio amid soaring temperatures in Texas, officials said.
According to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, a city worker heard a cry for help from the truck shortly before 6 p.m. Monday and discovered the gruesome scene. Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground near the trailer as a grim symbol of the calamity.
16 people found inside the truck are being treated at a hospital, Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said, including 12 adults and four children, who he referred to as teenagers and young adults. None of those who died were children, Hood said.
“They were suffering from heat stroke, heat exhaustion,” Hood said, later adding that there were no signs of water or working air conditioning unit on the semi-truck.
The home countries of the immigrants and how long they were abandoned on the side of the road was not immediately known.
Hood said those still alive were too weak to help themselves out of the truck. Temperature highs in the San Antonio area were expected to reach the 90s to near 100 degrees Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Three people have been taken into custody, McManus confirmed Monday, adding: “We don’t know if they are absolutely connected to this or not.
The investigation has been turned over to federal authorities, McManus said.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the deaths were “nothing short of a horrific human tragedy.”
Monday’s deaths are the most recent incident officials believe to be related to border crossings. In March 2021, 13 people, including the driver, were killed when an SUV packed with at least 25 migrants, who authorities said entered the country illegally, crashed into a semi-truck in Southern California.