SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Forty-six suspected migrants were found dead inside a tractor trailer in South Texas on Monday night, and another 16 have been transported to area hospitals, according to San Antonio police and fire officials.
Multiple SAPD sources tell me it’s at least 40 people dead. Sixteen others were taken to area hospitals in varying conditions. Death toll could rise. https://t.co/zdb5KC6Q4M
— Dillon Collier (@dilloncollier) June 28, 2022
“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” Nirenberg said during a news conference late Monday.
“They had families… and were likely trying to find a better life. It’s nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” he added.
According to KSAT, authorities did not immediately confirm if the victims were migrants or their country of origin.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told the TV station that officers received a call just before 6 p.m. Monday from a person working near the 9600 block of Quintana Road who heard a cry for help. The worker told police he saw several bodies inside a tractor-trailer with its doors partially open as he approached the direction of the cry.
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said during the news conference that responding crews found “stacks of bodies” in the trailer, noting that several conscious victims were too weak to exit the vehicle.
Hood confirmed that the 46 fatalities included both men and women, ranging from teenagers to young adults, KSAT reported.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion were the cause of death, he added.
Meanwhile, McManus confirmed during the news conference that three people have been taken into custody, but he did not elaborate on their connections to the tragedy. He also stated that federal Homeland Security Investigations would be taking over the investigation, the TV station reported.
There are about 46 migrants dead in San Antonio. Our prayers raised up to you O Lord for their souls. Lord have mercy on them. They hoped for a better life. Lord after Uvalde and now this, help us! We need you! So many people suffering. God, God, God.
— Archbishop Gustavo (@ABishopGustavo) June 28, 2022
Update 10:08 p.m. EDT June 27 : A U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press just before 10 p.m. EDT Monday that another 15 victims found inside the truck were transported to area hospitals and that the scene is being treated as a presumed migrant smuggling attempt.
The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the information had not been authorized for public release.
Original report: San Antonio Police Department sources confirmed to KSAT that 16 additional people were transported to area hospital for treatment of varying conditions, and also said the death toll is closer to 42.
At least five victims are in critical condition at one area hospital, WOAI-TV reported.
A Catholic Charities official told KSAT that the organization is working to help survivors, but they are unsure how many people will require assistance.
En route to a possible human smuggling case off of Quintana Rd on the South/Southeast side.
📸 credit Joe Arredondo, KSAT pic.twitter.com/DviwaEv1Ep
— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) June 27, 2022
According to the AP, 10 migrants died in 2017 after being trapped inside a truck that was parked at a Walmart in San Antonio. In 2003, 19 migrants were found in a sweltering truck southeast of the South Texas city.