More On: San Antonio
Christina Powell, a mother from Texas, went to the mall half an hour after leaving home, but she wasn't found for three weeks
At least 46 dead migrants were found in a truck in Texas as temps reach 103 degrees, 16 survivors found
Officials said Monday night that 46 people were found dead in a tractor-trailer on a Texas road in what they think was an attempt to sneak migrants into the country.
The victims were found in the 18-wheeler on Quintana Road in San Antonio, Texas, just before 6 p.m., said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
Officials said that 16 survivors, including four children, were rushed to hospitals in the area because they were suffering from heatstroke and dehydration.
Police say that a nearby worker heard a call for help and went to investigate. He found the trailer with its doors partly open and bodies inside.
One body was outside the truck, and there were dozens more inside.
“We’re not supposed to be able to open a truck and see stacks of bodies in there,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.
He also said that there was no water inside and that the air conditioning and refrigeration did not work.
Monday, it was 103 degrees in San Antonio, which is still in the middle of a heat wave.
Three people were arrested because of what happened, but it wasn't clear what their role was.
The Department of Homeland Security is now in charge of the investigation.
‘Mass casualty’ scene
Local journalists said they saw yellow tarps near the back of the open truck, as well as a large "mass casualty — evacuation" ambulance speeding by and dozens of officers from the San Antonio Police Department, Homeland Security, and the Border Patrol at the scene.
The truck was left in the middle of nowhere near some railroad tracks.
KSAT, a news station in San Antonio, said that police and first responders were walking along the train tracks with thermal imaging cameras to look for any possible survivors who may have gotten away.
The New York Times says that all of the people who died were thought to be illegal immigrants who had crossed into the US.
"The situation of refugees and migrants is always a humanitarian crisis, but tonight we are dealing with a terrible human tragedy," said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
Officers are looking into how 46 people died, but heat is thought to have played a big role.
At first, it was said that 20 people had died. With this new number, the tragedy is now one of the most deadly cases of people trafficking in the US in recent years.
“We will continue to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of those smuggled,” a spokesperson for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement to the Post.