At Least 46 People Found Dead in Abandoned Lorry, 16 Hospitalised in Suspected Human Smuggling

At Least 46 People Found Dead in Abandoned Lorry, 16 Hospitalised in Suspected Human Smuggling

  • At least 46 people have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio in a suspected case of human smuggling
  • An additional 12 adults and four children were transported to area hospitals after what officials called a mass casualty event
  • San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus said a worker nearby heard a cry for help and found the trailer with the doors partially opened and several deceased people inside
  • According to officials, the lorry was refrigerated but did not have a visibly working air-conditioning unit, or water

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At least 46 people were on Monday, June 27, found dead in an abandoned lorry on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, in the United States of America (USA).

Police discover over 46 bodies of people believed to be immigrants abandoned in a lorry.
The abandoned lorry had suspected non-documented immigrants. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar.
Source: UGC

Authorities described the horrific scene where they found bodies of men and women believed to be immigrants inside the trailer, which was discovered as temperatures in the area went up.

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Police respond to reports of dead individual

A fire official confirmed that 16 people, including four children, had also been taken to hospital, adding the survivors were "hot to the touch" and suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

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San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said the fire department was called to the scene over reports of a dead individual, The BBC reported.

Upon arrival, they found the trailer with one body outside and multiple bodies inside.

"The patients that we saw were hot to the touch. They were suffering from exhaustion, no signs of water in the vehicle. There was also no working air conditioning unit on the vehicle," he said.
"We're not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there," he continued. "None of us come to work imagining that," added Hood.

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The fire chief further noted that those taken to the hospital were conscious at the time of transportation and are expected to survive.

Three people in custody

It is unclear how many people were in the tractor-trailer when it was abandoned near train tracks and an auto salvage yard or how long they had been inside.

Not everyone was accounted for because the trailer was crammed full of people as temperatures in San Antonio reached a high of 39.4C (103F) degrees.

Another official confirmed to People that three people are already in custody; however, it's not clear if they're "absolutely connected" to the deaths.

Mexico's Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said that two Guatemalans were among those taken to hospital. The nationalities of the other victims was not immediately clear.

Mexican Consul General Rubén Minutti has been dispatched to the scene. At the same time, the consulate in San Antonio said it would provide "all the support" if Mexican citizens were among the dead.

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Monday's tragedy is one of the deadliest in recent history involving migrants.

In 2019, a similar fatal road crossing incident in England resulted in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants, according to Sky News.

The victims were found in a similar truck, dying from suffocation and hypothermia.

Enyobeni tavern owner gets liquor licence revoked and faces criminal charges after 21 kids mysteriously died

In a related matter, Briefly News also reported the Eastern Cape Liquor Board intends to lay criminal charges against the Enyobeni tavern owner following the deaths of at least 21 teenagers at his tavern on Sunday morning, 26 June. The Liquor Board’s CEO Dr Nombuyiselo Makala says the tavern owner contravened the liquor act by serving alcohol to minors. As a result, his liquor licence has been revoked.

According to SABC News, the Liquor Board's sentiments are also shared by the National Liquor Traders convener Lucky Ntimane, who says the responsibility for the deaths of the minors lies solely on the Enyobeni tavern owner.

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