© Reuters. A police officer raises his hand to block photographers to avoid taking photos at the scene of an accident with a trailer that killed at least 49 people, mostly Central American migrants, in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico, December 9.
TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico (Reuters) – Fifty-four, mostly from Central America, were killed Thursday when a truck carrying them in southern Mexico overturned in one of the worst accidents involving migrants risking their lives to arrive to the United States.
The trailer opened, spilling people, when a truck crashed on a sharp bend in front of the town of Tuxtla Gutierrez in the state of Chiapas, according to a video of the consequences and civil protection bodies.
Chiapas Governor Rutilio Escandon said 49 people died at the scene and five more while receiving medical treatment.
“It took a turn, and because of the weight of us people inside, we all went with it,” said a shocked Guatemalan man sitting at the scene in a video broadcast on social media.
– The trailer couldn’t handle the weight of the people.
There were more than 100 people in the trailer, authorities said. Several dozen were injured and taken to hospitals in Chiapas, which borders Guatemala. Dozens of Guatemalan migrants are listed on injured lists posted on social media.
A Reuters witness heard moans and sobs among the survivors as ambulance crews rushed to the spot where the overturned truck was shaking and stopped next to a pedestrian bridge on the highway.
Reuters pictures show a white trailer on its side, with injured people scattered on tarpaulins on the ground. There were also strings of something that looked like bodies wrapped in white cloth.
A video of the scene, which was broadcast on social networks, shows a woman holding a child crying in her lap, both bloody. Another shot shows a man curled up in pain inside a destroyed trailer barely moving as helpers pulled out bodies.
Among the dead were men, women and children, the state government of Chiapas announced, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Twitter (NYSE 🙂 expressed grief over the “very painful” incident.
‘NO THAT THE BEST (NYSE 🙂 WAY ‘
Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America typically travel through Mexico to reach the U.S. border, and are sometimes crammed into large trucks organized by smugglers in extremely dangerous conditions.
“This shows us that irregular migration is not the best way,” Kevin Lopez, a spokesman for the Guatemalan presidency, told Milenio television after the accident.
He did not know how many Guatemalan victims there were.
Salvadoran Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill said her government is working to see if Salvadorans have died.
Mexico offered accommodation and humanitarian visas to the survivors, and Governor Chiapasa Escandon said those responsible for the crash would be held accountable.
Officials in Mexico routinely encounter migrants packed into trailers, including 600 people https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/migrants-12-countries-among-600-found-two-trucks-mexico-2021-11- 20 found hidden in the back of two trucks in eastern Mexico last month.
Traveling north of Mexico’s border with Guatemala is dangerous and expensive, and many migrants fall victim to criminal groups along the way. In January, 19 people, mostly migrants, were massacred on suspicion of police involvement in northern Mexico.
A record number of people have been arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border this year as migrants seek to take advantage of President Joe Biden’s promise to pursue a more humane immigration policy than his hardline predecessor, Donald Trump.
Mexican authorities in Chiapas tried to persuade migrants not to form caravans to walk thousands of miles to the U.S. border, and began transporting people from the southern city of Tapachule to other regions of the country.
The Biden administration also urged migrants not to leave their homeland to the United States, and a policy launched under Trump this week https://www.reuters.com/world/us/first-migrants-sent-mexico -us-under- reboot-trump-era-scheme-2021-12-08 send asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their court hearings.
Some critics claim that stricter policies are pushing migrants into the hands of human smugglers, putting their lives in danger.
“(The authorities) are creating smuggled migration that generates billions of dollars in profits,” said migrant activist Ruben Figueroa.