SAN ANTONIO — A 10th person who was found in an overheated tractor-trailer in San Antonio has died, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas said Monday.
Eight people were found dead inside the semitruck early Sunday morning. Since then, two people who were hospitalized have died.
More than 100 undocumented immigrants might have been sandwiched in the back of the 18-wheeler during the journey, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan said over the weekend, citing initial interviews with survivors.
“Checking the video from the store, we found there were a number of vehicles that came in and picked up a lot of the folks that were in that trailer that survived the trip,” San Antonio police chief William McManus said. “We are looking at a human trafficking crime here.”
An employee told authorities the trailer was parked at a Walmart and a man who was in it asked the employee for water.
The employee brought water for the man, then called police and asked them to conduct a welfare check, McManus said.
That’s when authorities discovered eight bodies and 31 people suffering from various injuries, authorities said.
“We quickly called a mass casualty incident and had about 29 units arrive out there and start transporting people,” San Antonio fire chief Charles Hood said.
“With heatstrokes or heat injuries, a lot of them are going to have some irreversible brain damage.”
The air conditioner in the trailer was not working, officials said. And the high temperature in San Antonio on Saturday was 100 degrees.
“Unfortunately, some of them were severely overheated, and that was a refrigerated truck with no refrigeration,” Hood said. “So the inside of the truck was just austere condition that nobody was going to survive in it. So we were very fortunate that they were found.”
Two of the people hospitalized are 15 years old, the fire spokesman said.
Authorities don’t know where the trailer is from or how long it was parked at Walmart, but they are reviewing surveillance video.