50 migrants found dead inside a truck in San Antonio, Texas

(CNN) — At least 53 immigrants died inside a truck trailer in San Antonio, Texas, while 16 people were transported to area hospitals with heat-related injuries overnight Monday, according to San Antonio officials.

At first, 46 dead immigrants found in the truck had been reported, but on Tuesday morning the figure rose to 50, 48 of whom died on the spot and another two in the hospital. The official stressed that the figures are still preliminary.

Federal authorities are still trying to determine the origin of the truck and its route, according to the official. It’s also unclear how long the people inside the truck were dead.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, said Tuesday that among the 50 deceased migrants there are 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans and 2 Hondurans. According to the official, these data come from information provided by the United States authorities.

In a tweet, he added that the remaining victims have yet to be identified and that Mexico is joining the investigations being carried out in the neighboring United States in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “We are in mourning. Huge tragedy,” Ebrard wrote.

CNN is contacting the authorities in Honduras and Guatemala for more information.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said at a news conference Monday night that he received a call at about 6 p.m. after a nearby building employee heard a cry for help. McManus said the employee walked to the truck and noticed the doors were partially open. When the person opened the door, several deceased people were found inside.

McManus said police have three people in custody, though he clarified it’s unclear if they’re connected to the incident.

In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

“At this time, we have processed approximately 46 bodies that have been classified and tagged and declared deceased at this time. Fortunately we were able to transport 16 people, of which 12 are adults and four children. Everyone was conscious at the time of transport,” said San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood, who also spoke at the news conference.

The investigation has been turned over to the Department of Homeland Security, according to McManus.

The attorney general of Mexico opens an investigation

The Attorney General’s Office will open an investigation into what happened in San Antonio.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a post on Twitter that he had a call with Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero, who said an investigation into the deaths has been opened. He added that the Attorney General’s Office will send a team to Texas for the investigation.

Biden calls the death of migrants “horrible and heartbreaking”

President Joe Biden called the finding of dozens of dead migrants in a truck in Texas “horrifying and heartbreaking” and underscored the need to prosecute criminal human-smuggling networks.

“Exploiting vulnerable people for profit is shameful, as is the political bombast surrounding the tragedy, and my administration will continue to do everything we can to stop human smugglers and traffickers from preying on people trying to get into United States between ports of entry,” Biden wrote in a statement.

In his statement, Biden pointed to the work already done by his administration to combat human trafficking.

“This incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry that preys on migrants and causes too many innocent deaths,” he wrote. “In Los Angeles two weeks ago, I announced that the United States has launched a first-of-its-kind anti-smuggling campaign with our regional partners. In the first three months, we’ve made more than 2,400 arrests, and this work will only intensify in the coming months.

“A horrible human tragedy”

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the incident a “horrible human tragedy.” Officials said they are hopeful people transported for treatment will recover from heat-related injuries.

According to Hood, there was no sign of water in the refrigerated truck trailer and no visible working air conditioning unit. Hood said the 60 firefighters who were on scene are currently undergoing a critical incident stress report.

“We’re not supposed to open up a truck and see piles of bodies there. None of us come to work imagining that,” Hood said. According to Hood, the ages of the deceased immigrants vary, but as far as he knows, there are no children.

High temperatures in the San Antonio area ranged from 32 degrees to 37 degrees Celsius on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

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