Forty-six migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor trailer in San Antonio on Monday, law enforcement officials said. Sixteen others — 12 adults and four children — were taken to local hospitals with heat-related injuries, APA reports citing CBS News.
Police Chief William McManus said at a press conference that authorities received a call at approximately 5:50 p.m. local time from a worker who had heard cries for help and found the trailer with its doors partially open. The worker found a number of dead bodies inside the trailer, McManus said.
McManus said three people were in custody, though he noted that authorities aren't certain they're connected to the situation. The incident is now under federal investigation.
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said the 16 people taken to the hospital were all conscious when they were found, though they were "weak" and would have been unable to leave the trailer on their own. He said all were "hot to the touch" and suffering from heat-related injuries like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
He said there were no signs of water or a working air conditioner in the truck, and authorities said it's not clear how long the group was in the truck before they were found.
The victims were a mix of men and women and varied in age, but none of the deceased appeared to be minors, officials said.
Hood said first responders were now being debriefed to help them process what they witnessed.
"You're not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there," he said. "None of us come to work imagining that."
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the situation "a horrific human tragedy."