US authorities find bodies of 46 migrants in abandoned trailer

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Not more than 46 people were found dead inside an abandoned tractor-trailer on Monday in San Antonio, Texas, adjudged as one of the deadliest recent incidents of human smuggling along the U.S.-Mexico border.

A San Antonio Fire Department official said they found stacks of bodies and no signs of water in the truck, which was discovered next to railroad tracks in the city’s southern outskirts, close to interstate 35 which runs to the Mexican border.

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Sixteen survivors, including four children, were rushed to nearby hospitals for heat stroke and exhaustion.

They were found by a local worker, who investigated the scene after hearing a faint cry for help emanating from the truck, according to reports. No children were among the dead, according to officials.

Texas has been experiencing a near-record heat wave, while temperatures in San Antonio, which is about 160 miles from the Mexican border, surged to a high of 103F on Monday with high humidity.

“The patients that we saw were hot to the touch. They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion”, fire chief Charles Hood said in a press briefing.

“There were no signs of water in the vehicle. It was a refrigerated trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.

Police Chief William McManus said three individuals were taken into custody, but that it had not been established whether they were absolutely connected to this or not.

“The nationalities of the victims have not yet been confirmed, but it is thought they are likely to have been Mexican immigrants attempting to cross illegally into the U.S.”

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard dispatched Consul General Ruben Minutti to the scene yesterday evening (Monday), while the Mexican consulate in San Antonio said it would provide all the support to the families of Mexican citizens if they are among the dead.

A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that its Homeland Security Investigations division was investigating an alleged human smuggling event in coordination with local police.

The truck was found abandoned by auto salvage yards and railroad tracks around 6:00pm Monday by an individual who worked nearby.

Chief McManus said the individual heard a cry for help and came out to investigate, before finding the trailers doors partially opened upon arrival and discovering dozens of bodies.

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