A crowded cargo truck carrying more than 100 people in southern Mexico crashed and rolled over Thursday, killing at least 55 people and wounding scores more, officials said.
Rutilio Escandón, governor of the state of Chiapas where the crash occurred, said Friday the death toll had risen to 55. He previously said 105 people had been injured in the crash. Mexico’s attorney general’s office said Thursday at least three people were “seriously injured.”
El Universal, a newspaper in Mexico, reported at least one child had died in the crash and 20 children ages 3 to 17 were injured.
Many of the people in the truck are believed to be migrants from Central America, according to local media reports and witnesses from the scene. The crash occurred on a highway near the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the attorney general’s office said.
Footage shared on social media showed a packed cargo container flipped over with numerous bodies inside as passengers tried to get out. Rescue workers were seen lining the dead and injured along the street nearby.
“It took a bend, and because of the weight of us people inside, we all went with it,” one man at the scene of the crash said in a broadcast, according to Reuters.
Milenio, another newspaper in Mexico, reported the truck hit a retaining wall, then a pedestrian bridge before the cargo container broke off the truck and hit the road.
The attorney general’s office said its special prosecutor’s office for human rights would begin an investigation into the crash alongside the specialized prosecutor’s office for regional control. The National Guard was also assisting with the investigation, the office said.
Celso Pacheco, a survivor of the crash from Guatemala, told the Associated Press he felt the truck speeding and lose control due to the weight of the people inside. He said the people inside were from Guatemala and Honduras and that eight to 10 young children were in the group.
Several people were also from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Ecuador, according to El Universal. At least one person was listed as a Mexican national, the newspaper reported.
Rescue workers first on the scene also told the Associated Press some of the survivors fled the crash despite their injuries.
The names and nationalities of the victims have not yet been confirmed.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei expressed his sympathy for the victims and said the country would assist with repatriation.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called the crash “very painful” and also expressed support for the families of the victims.
The crash comes as the Mexican government has tried to curb illegal migration through the country. In recent months. Both large groups of migrants walking to the U.S. border and trucks attempting to smuggle the hidden groups have faced crackdowns.
Trucks carrying more than 600 migrants in October were stopped in the northern border state of Tamaulipas.
Irineo Mujica, who is leading a march of migrants across southern Mexico, told the Associated Press that Mexican government policies blocking marches like hers are to blame for crashes like the one Thursday.
“These policies that kill us, that murder us, is what leads to this type of tragedy,” Mujica said.
Migrants seeking to travel through the country via smugglers can pay thousands of dollars for the dangerous trek. A number of high-profile crashes in the United States also raised concerns over the dangers of smuggling operations.
In March, 13 people in a packed SUV were killed in California in a crash near the border. Ten people were killed in a crowded van that crashed in southern Texas in August.
President Joe Biden, who has faced sharp criticism from Republicans for his border policies, earlier this month restarted the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they await U.S. immigration proceedings.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort