At least 53 people were killed and 58 injured in a truck accident in Mexico on Thursday, reported AP, citing authorities.
The accident took place when a cargo truck with over 100 people overturned on a pedestrian bridge on a highway leading towards Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas state.
Luis Manuel García Moreno, the head of state Civil Protection Service, said that witness testimony showed that the truck was going at high speed and flipped while taking a sharp turn, reported The New York Times.
The victims are believed to be migrants from Central America but their identities have not been confirmed yet. Some of the survivors said they were from the neighbouring country of Guatemala, according to Moreno.
Celso Pacheco, one of the survivors of the accident, said that the truck was carrying migrants from Guatemala and Honduras. He said that there were about eight to 10 children on board.
Pacheco added he was trying to reach the United States but was now expecting to be deported to Guatemala.
Chiapas is a big transit point for undocumented migrants. In recent years, Chiapas has witnessed an increase in migrants from Central America to the US through Mexico. In a year till October, 1.7 million, or 17 lakh migrants, were found trying to enter the US, according to The New York Times.
Rescue workers who first arrived at the scene said that many more migrants were in the truck but they fled in fear of being detained by immigration agents. One of the paramedics said some survivors, who had sustained injuries and were bleeding, had fled into surrounding neighbourhoods.
Survivors of the accident said that they boarded the truck near the border with Guatemala and were paying between $2,500 (about Rs 1,89,100) and $3,500 (nearly Rs 2,64,700) to be transported to Puebla state. Once there, they would have contacted another set of people to take them to the US border.
Migrant activist Irineo Mujica blamed Mexico’s policies of cracking down on migrant caravans for the disaster. “These policies that kill us, that murder us, is what leads to this type of tragedy,” Mujica said.
Data on US’ International Organization for Migration showed that at least 3,575 people have died on the United States-Mexico border since 2014. Of these, 650 people died while attempting to cross the US border this year alone. This is the highest deaths in a year since the International Organization for Migration started recording deaths in 2014.
“The rising migrant death toll in the region is highly alarming,” said Michele Klein-Solomon, the organisation’s regional director for Central, North America and the Caribbean.