Early Sunday morning nine people were found dead inside a parked tractor trailer. This tractor trailer was parked in the parking lot of a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas. Police have declared it as a “horrific tragedy”. Another individual died in the hospital later.
In a press conference the San Antonio Chief William McManus held in the early hours of Sunday morning he said “We’re looking at a human-trafficking crime this evening,”
The Chief also said that a Walmart employee called the police after a person from the truck came to him and asked for water.
Police says in a statement released by them that the all the nine deaths were caused by suffocation and heat stroke
According to authorities that dozens of people—including two school-aged children were in the tractor trailer.
The Fire Chief of San Antonio Charles Hood said a lot of the people who were discovered in the trailer had heart rates above 130 and they were “hot to the touch”. 20 of the people were shifted to hospitals for treatment.
On Sunday the temperatures hit 100 degrees in San Antonio during the day.
“These people were in that trailer without any signs of water so you’re looking at a lot of heat stroke, dehydration,” Hood said,
he also added that the air conditioner in the trailer was not in working condition.
“We’re very fortunate that there weren’t 38 of these people that were all locked inside of this vehicle dead,” Hood added.
The driver of the vehicle who didn’t flee was arrested by the police.
“The driver and whomever else we find in this will be facing state and federal charges,” McManus told the press.
In a statement The US Attorney in the Western District of Texas has named this incident as
“smuggling venture gone horribly wrong,”.
“All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” Durbin added. “Imagine their suffering, trapped in a stifling trailer in 100-plus-degree heat,” he added, saying that his department, along with the local and federal authorities, will “identify those who were responsible for this tragedy.”
The people count in the trailer might have originally be higher as the video from the surveillance camera from the parking lot appeared to show many vehicles reaching the lot to pick up the passengers who survived the heat and suffocation.
Authorities are still digging deeper into the source of truck and the duration of it being present in the parking lot of Walmart
“This is not an isolated incident. This happens quite frequently,” McManus also said. “Fortunately, we came across this one. Fortunately, there are people who survived.”
Other details are unknown as yet and they will be updated soon as they come.