At least 42 people were found dead inside a trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas, the state’s governor and local media said on Monday.
Governor Greg Abbot said in a tweet the people were found in the back of a truck and blame the deaths on political division and how borders are secured.
San Antonio’s WOAI-TV said that police were investigating. KSAT-TV channel said the truck was found next to railroad tracks in the city’s Southwest Side neighborhood.
San Antonio police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said the Mexican consul was en route to the site Monday.
Ebrard said in a tweet that the victims’ nationalities were still unknown.
The Mexican general consulate in San Antonio said on Twitter that it would provide aid to any Mexicans involved in the incident, if there were any. It also said consul general Ruben Minutti was on the way to the scene.
Monday’s discovery may be the deadliest tragedy among thousands who have died attempting to cross the USborder from Mexico in recent decades. Ten people died in 2017 after being trapped inside a truck that was parked at a Walmart in San Antonio. In 2003, 19 others were found in a sweltering truck southeast of San Antonio, the Associated Press reported.
Big rigs emerged as a popular smuggling method in the early 1990s amid a surge in US border enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, which were then the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.
Before that, people paid small fees to mom-and-pop operators to get them across a largely unguarded border. As crossing became exponentially more difficult after the 2001 terror attacks in the US, individuals were led through more dangerous terrain and paid thousands of dollars more.
Heat poses a serious danger, particularly when temperatures can rise severely inside vehicles. Weather in the San Antonio area was mostly cloudy Monday, but temperatures approached 100F (38C).
Photos posted to Twitter by a KSAT reporter showed multiple police vehicles and ambulances surrounding a large truck.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.