At least 54 dead as freight truck packed with migrants crashes in Mexico

Officials say that most of the victims were migrants coming from Central America

Io Dodds ,Chris Havler-Barrett
Friday 10 December 2021 15:57 GMT
Rescue workers pull out survivors from a truck crash in Mexico that killed 53 migrants
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At least 54 people were killed and dozens injured, when a packed freight truck flipped over and crashed into a bridge in southern Mexico on Thursday.

Officials in the Mexican state of Chiapas said that most of the victims were migrants coming from Central America, particularly Honduras.

Luis Manuel Garcia Moreno, head of the Chiapas Civil Protection Service, told Milenio TV that the truck had been travelling at excessive speed and then overturned on a steep bend, crashing into a pedestrian bridge.

There were up to 200 people packed onto the truck, according to Guatemala’s top human rights official, Jordan Rodas.

Graphic footage from bystanders showed piled bodies in the crushed trailer, as emergency services and military personnel worked to free those trapped in the wreckage. The driver of the lorry reportedly fled the scene immediately after the crash, according to eyewitnesses.

The accident happened about 125 miles north of Mexico’s border with Guatemala, a frequent crossing point for migrants seeking entry to the US from Central America and far beyond.

Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said: “I profoundly regret the tragedy caused by the overturning of a trailer carrying central American migrants in Chiapas. It is a great sorrow. I embrace the families of the victims.”

Guatemala’s president Alejandro Gianmettei said he would offer all necessary assistance, including the repatriation of bodies.

The scene of the truck crash in Chiapas state
The scene of the truck crash in Chiapas state (Reuters)

A record 1.7 million migrants from around the world, many fleeing gang violence and poverty in their native countries, were caught trying to enter the US illegally in the 12 months ending in October.

Official figures show that more than 228,000 migrants have passed through Mexico seeking to reach the US this year – the highest figure in 15 years.

The Mexican government has hardened its enforcement of immigration laws, partly due to pressure from the US.

Yet the authorities can also be a threat: in February, 12 Mexican police officers were arrested for the massacre of 13 Guatemalan migrants and six other people found inside a burned-out pickup truck 40 miles south of the US border.

Thursday’s accident came after Mexican authorities arrested 600 people being smuggled in two truck trailers through the state of Veracruz, coming not only from nearby countries such as El Salvador and Nicaragua but from India, Ghana and Bangladesh.

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