Eight people were found dead this morning inside a trailer after a call by a Walmart employee directed authorities to the tractor-trailer. Police found a total of 38 people inside the trailer, 30 seriously injured. Authorities have confirmed eight dead.
According to the Walmart employee, the trailer was parked at the company’s lot in San Antonio. Reports said the man in the tractor-trailer asked the employee for water which the employee obliged before calling the police to request a welfare check.
Charles Hood, San Antonio Fire Chief stated: “we quickly called a mass casualty incident and had 29 units over to start transporting people. With heat strokes and heat injuries, many of them may end up having irreversible brain damage.”
According to officials, even the air conditioner in the trailer was bad; that coupled with the 100 deg. F San Antonio temperature, it’s hard to predict just what these people must have been put through.
According to Hood, “the damage done to those people was as a result of being in a refrigerated truck that has no refrigeration,” and since these trucks were designed to maintain a specific temperature, the inside of the truck was way below what any person should be kept in; and we are really fortunate that they were saved, because it could have been 38 dead people if the truck was found 20 hours later.
Authorities do not yet know where the truck is from or where it is going. Surveillance video was being reviewed to determine how long it had been parked at Walmart.
Police arrested the driver.
Richard Durbin, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said this was the work of human traffickers.
“All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” Durbin said. “These people were helpless in the hands of their transporters. Imagine their suffering, trapped in a stifling trailer in 100-plus degree heat.”
According to William McManus, San Antonio Police Chief, “the driver and whoever else we find is involved in this will be facing state and federal charges. Once the victims undergo treatment, the case will be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”