A truck smuggling migrants through Mexico crashed into a bridge, killing 54 Central American migrants and injuring at least 53 others.
The semi-truck trailer contained about 200 people when it crashed in the southern state of Chiapas near the Guatemala border, officials estimated. They believe the weight combined with a curve in the road caused the truck to lose balance and crash into the steel support of a pedestrian bridge, the Associated Press reported.
MIGRANTS FROM ALL OVER WORLD CROSS SOUTHERN BORDER IN RECORD NUMBERS
One of the survivors said the group was mostly Guatemalans and Hondurans trying to reach the United States. The Mexican government said it would give survivors humanitarian visas to stay in the country while it investigates the crime and will pay for funeral and repatriation costs. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said his government would also help pay for repatriation.
Rescue workers laid bodies on white sheets on the side of the highway. Some who were uninjured or could walk fled, while emergency responders persuaded passing motorists to rush people to nearby hospitals when they ran out of ambulances.
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Packing hundreds of people into truck trailers is a common smuggling practice, with each passenger paying between $2,500 and $3,500 to be driven from southern to central Mexico. From there, they would probably meet another smuggler to take them to the U.S. border.
Mexico is seeking to stem the tide of immigrants from Central America as the Biden administration restarts the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy, which ensures illegal border crossers stay in Mexico while awaiting immigration hearings instead of being released into the U.S. In October, law enforcement in northern Mexico busted the largest truck smuggling operation to date, with 652 migrants from Central America in six trucks.