A call made Monday afternoon alerted San Antonio authorities to the presence of a body in the back of a truck on a desolate road south of the city. This was how an agent, identified by the authority as “52”, made the discovery of “piles of bodies” behind the doors of the transport that were ajar.
In the distance, an employee heard the cries of despair. It was minutes before 6:00 p.m. on Monday when the man left the back of the vast backyard of a car parts company without imagining the terrible discovery that was about to be discovered and that, in the south of San Antonio, seems to repeat itself. and again.
On the desolate and narrow road, named Quintana Road, which runs parallel to the railroad tracks and the famous Interstate 35, he found a modern red truck parked loaded with a white trailer, which had a refrigeration system. The cries were heard again, this time it was clear, they came from inside.
The man walked the entire length of the vehicle. Upon reaching the end, he found what he surely wished he didn’t find: a lifeless body.
At that moment, he took his phone, dialed 911, and reported the presence of the body behind the truck and the sighting of what appeared to be the driver of the transport who, at that moment, was fleeing in a race on the train tracks heading south.
A macabre was found
The operator sent the required help. The solitary road, whose shoulders serve as a clandestine garbage deposit, as can be seen in archive street images, arrived at the “agent 52” of the Fire Department.
The official toured the truck and found the reported lifeless body. What he did not imagine finding, despite the fact that similar misfortunes had already occurred in the past in the same area of the city, were as many corpses scattered on the floor.
Agent 52 looked at the half-open doors of the transport. Inside there he identified “piles of bodies” without life.
The owners of the voices that implored help sprouted on the remains of the deceased: they were 16 people -including four children- all migrants.
Exhausted and dehydrated, the survivors of what seemed like a premature burial got off the transport. In there they had suffered the stroke of the heat that, during the day, had reached 99 degrees F (37 degrees Celsius).
More emergency services, police – who arrested three people -, ambulances and paramedics arrived at the scene. The injured were transferred to four hospitals in different parts of the city to be treated.
All of the above was announced during a press conference, held on the same Monday, by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Fire Department Chief Charles Hood, a few meters from Interstate 35, through which thousands of migrants have passed in recent decades on their way north.
A tragedy that is not isolated
On Tuesday, ICE confirmed that 51 people have died, 22 are Mexicans, seven Guatemalans, and two Hondurans, the rest, according to the Mexican Foreign Ministry, are still unidentified. These figures confirmed what happened on Monday as the worst tragedy of its kind in decades.
But, this is not an isolated event. It is reminiscent of others that occurred in the same city, in the same southern area, and close to Highway 35, which is commonly used by traffickers as it is a corridor that connects the country from the center to the north.
One of them is that of the “night of horror” that occurred on July 16, 2017. Today, police officers from the same city of San Antonio found a trailer in which 39 immigrants were traveling, eight of whom died asphyxiated inside the steel box two more days after their rescue.
In the lawsuit against the driver, named James Bradley, it was possible to read the hours of anguish experienced by the people who were transferred to the United States. It is believed that up to 200 people were hidden in that truck.
Due to the number of overcrowded people and the technology available at the ports of entry to the United States, it is believed that immigrants do not cross on board the trucks but only after crossing the border when they board this type of transport.
Almost 20 years ago, in 2003, 19 immigrants died in the same way, inside a suffocating hermetically sealed tractor-trailer. That happened in southwest San Antonio when a group of people was traveling from South Texas to Houston.
Univision Noticias made a special in which it interviewed victims of the tragedy of the trailer in which 74 people were traveling and were able to verify how risky such a trip is in a truck bed.
On the same Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott blamed the government of President Joe Biden for the trailer tragedy in South San Antonio.
“This is a consequence of their open border policies,” said Abbott on his Twitter account, who has implemented more extensive checks at the border to find people and drugs that cross the border from Mexico illegally.
The Biden government rejected the accusations of the Republican governor and blamed human traffickers who “have no respect for life” for this tragedy, one that is repeated in the same way, in the same area.
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