In what Mayor Ron Nirenberg described as a “horrific human tragedy,” at least 46 Migrants were found dead inside a semi-truck in San Antonio on Monday. This was Adriana Rocha Garcia’s first reference to the victims as “migrants,” following a briefing from San Antonio’s city police chief.
During a press conference Monday night, San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus said that a nearby building worker heard a call for help just before 6 p.m. and notified authorities. According to McManus, the worker discovered a trailer that had its doors half-open, revealing the bodies of several persons.
Charles Hood, the San Antonio Fire Chief, says that 16 people, 12 adults, and 4 children, have been sent to surrounding medical facilities for additional treatment. They were hot to the touch and had heat exhaustion and heat stroke, Hood said but were conscious when taken to a hospital for treatment. According to him, the refrigerated tractor-trailer was free of water and had no obvious operating air conditioner.
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According to the National Weather Service, San Antonio experienced highs in the 90s and low 100s on Monday. Officials are optimistic that those who were sent to the hospital would be able to make a full recovery. According to a Methodist Healthcare representative, three of the migrants found were transferred to Methodist Hospital Metropolitan and are in stable condition.
According to McManus, police have taken custody of three persons, but it’s not apparent if they have any connection to the incident.
San Antonio police notified the investigation section of the US Department of Homeland Security about “an alleged human smuggling event,” and the investigation is being led by ICE, according to a spokesperson on Monday.
On social media, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas remarked, “I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of life today and am praying for those who are still fighting for their lives.” We have lost far too many lives because of the perilous journeys taken by individuals and groups alike. Debriefings for the 60 firemen who responded to the scene are taking place, Hood said.
“We’re not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there. None of us come to work imagining that,” the fire chief said.
Monday, Mayor Nirenberg stated, “It’s tragic.” “There are, that we know of, 46 individuals who are no longer with us, who had families, who were likely trying to find a better life. And we have 16 folks who are fighting for their lives in the hospital.”
The consul general of Mexico in San Antonio declared on social media that assistance would be provided to all Mexican nationals. According to Mexico’s foreign minister, at least two of the 16 survivors are Guatemalan, citing the consul.
An “unprecedented” campaign to destroy people-smuggling networks has been launched by the Biden administration, says Mayorkas, who spoke with CNN earlier this month about the issue. Smugglers, on whom many migrants depend to get to the border, have been the target of prior operations. DHS and federal partners announced a crackdown on illicit smuggling groups last spring.
Over the last two decades, Texas has had similar tragedies involving illicit transport deaths. A tractor-trailer at a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas, caught fire in 2017, killing ten people and injuring hundreds more. A federal judge condemned the truck driver to life in prison without the possibility of release.
In 2003, 18 victims ranging from age 7 to 91 were found dead in the back of a semi-truck with nearly 100 other people as temperatures climbed past 100 degrees, investigators said. Initially convicted to life in prison, the driver was resentenced in 2011 to nearly 34 years in prison. Stay tuned with us only on Lee Daily