Sixteen others, including four children, have been taken to hospital
At least 46 people have been found dead in an abandoned truck on the outskirts of San Antonio, in what has been labelled a “horrific, human tragedy” by the city’s mayor.
Fire officials said they found “stacks of bodies” in the back of the lorry and confirmed that 16 people, including four children, had been taken to hospital.
Emergency services had arrived at the scene at about 18:00 local time (23:00 GMT) after reports of a dead body, San Antonio fire chief Charles Hood told reporters.
“We’re not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there. None of us come to work imagining that,” he said.
The survivors had apparently been “hot to touch” and were suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
An official cause of death has not yet been recorded, but temperatures in the city reached a high of 39.4C on Monday, Sky News reports.
Hood told the press there was “no visible working AC (air conditioning) unit” on the trailer.
Authorities have said they believe the people in the back of the lorry were migrants.
At least 46 people, believed to be migrants, have been found dead in an abandoned lorry on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas.
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood spoke to #BBCBreakfasthttps://t.co/G1NzfHHUtZ pic.twitter.com/OpY8pgenho
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) June 28, 2022
San Antonio is a city located 150 miles from the US border with Mexico and is a major transit route for people-smugglers, the BBC reports.
Trucks and lorries are often used to transport illegal immigrants after they have managed to cross the border into the US.
The nationalities of those found in the lorry have not yet been established. It is also not yet known how long they had been abandoned on the side of the road.
Police Chief William McManus said three people had been taken into custody as part of a federal investigation being led by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, but it is unclear if they were definitively connected with human trafficking.
LATEST: At least 46 people were found dead in a semtrailer in southwest San Antonio, Texas. 16 were also hospitalized with heat-related illnesses.
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 28, 2022
Texas governor Greg Abbott blamed the deaths on president Joe Biden, saying they were a result of his “deadly open border policies.”
But San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg labelled it a “horrific, human tragedy”, adding: “Our job is not to ask why. Our job is to ask how we can help.”
Migrants seeking asylum should always be treated as a humanitarian crisis, but this evening we're facing a horrific human tragedy.
More than 40 hopeful lives were lost. I urge you to think compassionately, pray for the deceased, the ailing, and their families at this moment.
— Mayor Ron Nirenberg (@Ron_Nirenberg) June 28, 2022
The tragedy is reminiscent of a similar incident in 2017 when 10 migrants died in the back of a truck parked at a Walmart in San Antonio.
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