In the sweltering heat of San Antonio on Tuesday, a tractor-trailer believed to have been used in a human smuggling operation was discovered abandoned. At least 51 people were killed, and several others were hospitalized.
During a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon, Bexar County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores announced that the death toll has risen to 51. Authorities reported that 46 bodies were discovered in the trailer on Monday and 16 people were hospitalized.
Two of the five patients admitted to the Baptist Health System in San Antonio have since died, according to spokesperson Natalie Gutierrez of USA Today. She reported that three were still in critical condition.
A male adolescent and a female 23-year-old were transported to University Hospital in San Antonio, according to a tweet from the University Health System. Each patient was in critical condition.
Mayor of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg stated that the victims belonged to “families who were likely trying to find a better life.”
“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” Nirenberg said.
Monday at approximately 6:00 p.m., a city employee heard a cry for help coming from the truck, according to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
Officers discovered a body outside the trailer, and hours later, body bags were spread out outside the truck.
The truck’s passengers were suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion, according to San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood. The truck exhibited no signs of water or functioning air conditioning.
Hood reported that the surviving passengers were too weak to assist themselves out of the truck on Monday when temperatures approached 100 degrees.