At least 46 people have been found dead in an abandoned lorry on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. A fire official said 16 people, including four children, had also been taken to hospital.
"It's it's tragic. You know, there there are that we know of 46 individuals who are no longer with us, who had families, who were likely trying to find a better life. And we have 16 folks who are fighting for their lives in our hospital. Our focus right now is to try to bring aid to them as as best we can. But this is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy." Ron Nirenberg San Antonio Mayor's said.
Fire Chief Charles Hood, San Antonio Fire Department said:"The patients that we saw were hot to the touch. They were suffering from heat stroke, heat exhaustion. No signs of water in the vehicle. It was a refrigerated tractor trailer, but t here was no visible working AC unit on that rig."
Three people are being held in custody and the investigation has been handed over to federal agents.
"A worker who works in one of the buildings up here behind me heard a cry for help," he told reporters, "came out to investigate, found a trailer with the doors partially open, opened them up to take a look, and found a number of deceased individuals inside." according to San Antonio police chief William McManus.
San Antonio, which is 250km (150 miles) from the US-Mexican border, is a major transit route for people-smugglers. Human traffickers often use lorries to transport undocumented migrants after meeting them in remote areas once they have managed to cross into the United States.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott hit, a Republican with a tough stance on immigration, hit out at President Joe Biden over the disaster -- blaming his "deadly open border policies."
"These deaths are on Biden," Abbott tweeted. "They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law."