July 28, 2022 – 6:10 p.m.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The death toll of those who have perished in the tractor-trailer in San Antonio has risen to 51 people, according to a spokesman for ICE, after original totals skipped upward from the 40s.
A Baptist Health System spokesperson said three more people died after arriving at its downtown hospital. Another patient died at an area hospital, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told the Associated Press on Tuesday. Among the dead were 39 males and 11 females, he said, according to KSAT.
The migrants came to the U.S. from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, according to Marcelo Ebrard, the secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.
July 28, 2022 – 8:49 a.m.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas was livid and blasted President Joe Biden and his policies, blaming them for the deaths of 46 migrants whose bodies were discovered in a tractor-trailer in triple digit temperatures in a smuggling attempt on Monday.
Within hours of the bodies being discovered in the back of an 18-wheeler in San Antonio Monday evening, the Republican governor sent a tweet saying, “These deaths are on Biden,” according to the New York Post.
“They are a result of his deadly open border policies,” he emphasized. “They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”
At Least 42 People Found Dead Inside Truck Carrying Migrants In Texas.
These deaths are on Biden.
They are a result of his deadly open border policies.
They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law. https://t.co/8KG3iAwlEk
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 28, 2022
“It’s tragic,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “They had families… and were likely trying to find a better life. It’s nothing short of a horrific human tragedy.”
Authorities said it was the largest mass casualty event they’ve seen in San Antonio, KSAT reported.
“We hope that those responsible for putting these people through such inhumane conditions are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Nirenberg said.
The bodies were discovered after a city worker heard a cry for help from the truck shortly before 6 p.m., authorities said.
When the worker approached, he saw several bodies inside an 18-wheeler trailer with its doors partially open.
According to San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood, firefighters and medics arrived at the scene to find “stacks of bodies” in the trailer and many people too weak to let themselves out.
Hood said 46 people, men and women who ranged from teens to young adults, were pronounced dead at the scene, KSAT reported.
The fire chief said they died from heat stroke and heat exhaustion as the trailer had no air conditioning and no water in temperatures that reached triple digits on Monday.
By nightfall, dozens of body bags lay spread across the ground and some of the victims were still inside the trailer.
The Mexican secretary of external relations tweeted Monday night that the 46 people died of asphyxiation, and at least two of the people in the trailer were from Guatemala.
Reporte de nuestro Cónsul : 46 fallecidos por asfixia, 16 trasladados a hospitales,entre ellos 4 menores de edad. En este último grupo se ha identificado a dos guatemaltecos. El trailer tiene placas de EU, superpuestas,para circular sin revisión.Muy probable autoría de tratantes.
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) June 28, 2022
Among the survivors are 12 adults and four children. All 16 were rushed to local hospitals to be treated for heat-related illnesses. Hood said the patients were hot to the touch and dehydrated.
“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” the fire chief noted. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”
Temperatures in San Antonio reached a high of 103 Monday amid an ongoing heat wave, according to KSAT.
Chief William McManus of the San Antonio Police Department said three people are in custody. However, he said he was unsure if they were connected to the tragedy.
A number of Gov. Abbott’s fellow Republicans also blamed Biden’s immigration policies for the tragedy, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeting, “How many more people have to die before Dems give a damn?”
How many more people have to die before Dems give a damn?#BidenBorderCrisis https://t.co/rRa1nAAPxr
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 28, 2022
“Today in San Antonio it was 102 degrees. Imagine being abandoned inside an 18-wheeler left to die … will [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] even mention their names?” Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) tweeted.
Today in San Antonio it was 102 degrees. Imagine being abandoned inside an 18-wheeler left to die – 42 people died today – will @AliMayorkas even mention their names?
— Tony Gonzales (@TonyGonzales4TX) June 28, 2022
Ten medic units were used to transport the survivors. Hood said 60 members of the SAFD will undergo behavioral assessments after responding to the scene.
Overall, he said the response “went very smoothly and very quickly.”
The investigation will be handled by Homeland Security Investigations, McManus confirmed.