At least 53 people were killed when a cargo truck apparently packed with Central American migrants rolled over and crashed into a bridge over a highway in Mexico’s southernmost state on Thursday.
Fifty-eight other people were also injured in the Chiapas calamity, many of them seriously, officials said.
Photos of the disaster showed victims strewn all over the highway and inside the truck’s cargo area, which was designed to transport perishable goods. The corpses were then placed in white body bags which were laid across the side of the highway.
Chiapas state civil defense leader Luis Manuel Moreno said that some of the survivors said they were from the nearby country of Guatemala, although the nationalities of all the victims have not been confirmed.
The vehicle appeared to topple over due to the weight of its passengers and its speed and then hit the base of a steel pedestrian bridge near a curve on the road. The impact of the crash smashed open the closed freight storage area where the migrants were being held.
Rescue workers said the total number of passengers was even higher than the sum of the 107 stated deceased and injured, as many limped away from the scene out of fear of being held by immigration officials.
Surviving migrants said they boarded the truck in Mexico near the Guatemalan border and paid between $2,500 and $3,500 to be driven to Puebla, near Mexico City, where they would then hire another set of smugglers to take them to the US border.
Mexico has recently cracked down on migrant caravans hiking north to seek asylum in the US, but the illegal transports have persisted. In October, stopped a caravan of six vehicles containing 652 Central American migrants heading towards America