At least 50 migrants found dead in truck in San Antonio, officials say

McManus said Homeland Security Investigations had taken over the investigation into the deadly incident. The heat will likely be a focus, with temperatures soaring to 101 on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

The heat in the trailer full of people was probably significantly higher than the outside temperature.

A committee of the National Association of Medical Examiners has recommended that bodies with temperatures of 105 or higher at the time of collapse be certified as heat-related deaths.

Some migrants die in hospitals, others in critical condition

Five people were taken to Baptist Medical Center in San Antonio Monday night. Three have since died and two are still in critical condition, the hospital said.

Methodist Hospital Metropolitan in downtown San Antonio is treating three patients, described by officials as two men and one woman, who are listed in critical but stable condition. The hospital has not been able to verify their age. Meanwhile, University Hospital in San Antonio is treating two patients: a 23-year-old woman in serious condition and an adolescent man in critical condition, hospital spokesman Andra Wazir said.

Two Mexican nationals at Texas Vista Medical Center are “dehydrated and now receiving medical care,” Mexican Secretary of State Marcelo Ebrard said. Twitter

J. Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities in San Antonio, and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, who heads the Archdiocese of San Antonio, visited patients at University Hospital.

Fernandez could not confirm the names or ages of the patients.

They were intubated and many other snakes were attached to them. The male patient was unable to speak, but he was wearing a scapular, a Catholic religious accessory that goes around the neck, he said.

There was security for the female patient, but not for the male patient, Fernandez noted.

He and García-Siller asked her if they could pray for her, and she nodded her head, Fernandez said.

They asked if she was from Guatemala and she nodded again, he said.

“It was a nice experience to end the day like this,” said Fernandez.

Guatemalan authorities estimate it will take three days to identify the bodies of migrants from that country, the country’s foreign ministry said.

The Guatemalan Consulate in McAllen, Texas, has contacted forensic doctors working to identify the dead, stating that “the likely cause of death was heat stroke due to overcrowding.”

US and Mexico investigate smuggling tragedy

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the people who died had “families who were probably trying to find a better life.”

“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “heartbroken by the tragic loss of life today and pray for those still fighting for their lives.”

“Far too many lives have been lost as individuals – including families, women and children – make this perilous journey,” he said in a statement. tweet

Noting that Homeland Security Investigations had launched its investigation with the support of the San Antonio Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mayorkas also targeted people smugglers as “insensitive individuals who have no respect for the vulnerable people they exploit and endanger.” to make a profit.”

Homeland Security Investigations said in its statement that the department is “continuing its enforcement efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities.”

“We will continue to address the serious threat to public security posed by human trafficking organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of those being smuggled,” the statement continued.

Ebrard said on Tuesday that Mexico will open an investigation into the deaths of the migrants in Texas over matters related to his country, according to a statement on his website. Twitter account

Monday’s tragedy comes as the number of migrants detained at the southern border has recently reached record numbers.

According to data from CBP, authorities have encountered more than 1 million migrants along the southwestern border since January. According to the data, the number is more than six times higher than the number of incidents recorded during the same period in 2020 and more than double the number of cases in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic started.

According to The Associated Press, the agency reported at least 557 deaths at the southwestern border in the 12-month period leading up to Sept. 30, more than double the 247 deaths reported the year before. Most were related to heat exposure.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, blames the incident on President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

“These deaths are on Biden,” he said in a… tweet† “They are the result of his deadly open borders policy.”

The White House declined to comment on Abbott’s tweet, pointing reporters to Mayorkas’s tweet instead.

Ebrard said a country’s consul general was on his way to the scene of the incident and would visit hospitals to help the survivors.

The government of Guatemala said in a statement that officials from the Guatemalan consular network in the southern US are also traveling to San Antonio to identify 12 injured people and four minors found in four hospitals.

Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina said in a tweet that the country is investigating whether there are also Hondurans among the deceased.

The license plate of the truck found in San Antonio was traced to a vehicle owned by a man named Felipe Betancourt, based in the city of Alamo.

When NBC News contacted him, Betancourt said the vehicle appeared to have been “cloned.” He said the drivers of the truck found in San Antonio appeared to have copied his truck’s registration numbers. He said he wanted his name cleared of the case.

Monday’s tragedy echoed an incident in 2017, when 10 migrants died in a packed truck carrying 39 people in San Antonio in the heat of the summer.

The driver, James Matthew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and transporting migrants, although his wife said he was unaware that there were people in the trailer. In April 2018, he was sentenced to life in federal prison without parole.

In 2003, in Victoria, Texas, 19 people died in the back of a truck owned by Tyrone Williams, who had been paid $7,500 for driving them through a border patrol checkpoint.

Williams was also sentenced to life in prison for what was the country’s deadliest human smuggling attempt until Monday. He was later handed additional sentences to be carried out in addition to the life sentence he was already serving.

Dennis Romero reports from Los Angeles, Suzanne Gamboa reports from San Antonio, Chantal Da Silva reports from London and Rhoda Kwan reports from Taipei.