2 Suspected Illegal Immigrants Dead Aboard Texas Train, 10 Hospitalized: Police

2 Suspected Illegal Immigrants Dead Aboard Texas Train, 10 Hospitalized: Police
Officials investigate the scene where migrants were found trapped in a train car, in Uvalde, Texas, on March 24, 2023. (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Two suspected illegal immigrants died aboard a freight train in south Texas on Friday, police said.

Ten others found on the train were in need of medical care and were transported to the hospital by ambulance or helicopter, they added.

The Uvalde Police Department said in a statement posted on Facebook that officials received an anonymous 911 call around 3:50 p.m. saying people were “suffocating” inside a train traveling near the U.S.–Mexico border.

U.S. Border Patrol officials were notified and proceeded to stop the train, which was at the time 2-3 miles east of Knippa, in Uvalde County. Knippa is less than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from the U.S.–Mexico border.

About 15 immigrants were “discovered to be in need of immediate medical attention,” police said.

Of those who were alive, “five of the immigrants were flown out to San Antonio area hospitals, five were transported to area hospitals, and their conditions are unknown,” the statement read.

Officials closed U.S. Highway 90 temporarily to land the helicopters. The highway was reopened at 6:47 p.m., police noted.

University Health in San Antonio said on Twitter it had received two male patients, one in critical condition and one in serious condition.

Meanwhile, the cause of the two deaths was not immediately clear. Highs in the area neared 90 degrees (32.2 Celsius), and shipping containers often get much hotter than the surrounding temperature.

Union Pacific railroad is leading the investigation into the incident, police said.

In a statement, the railroad franchise said that the group of people were found in two cars on the train, which was traveling east from Eagle Pass bound for San Antonio. Twelve of them were found in a shipping container and three in a hopper car. The two people who died were in the shipping container.

Union Pacific added that it was “deeply saddened by this incident and the tragedies occurring at the border.”

“We take the safety of all individuals seriously and work tirelessly with law enforcement partners to detect illegal items and people riding inside or on our rail cars,” it added.

Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez told the San Antonio-Express News that authorities are still trying to figure out whether the anonymous caller was from someone inside the train car. “We’re assuming it was from inside one of the cars,” he told the outlet.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas responded to the incident in a statement on Twitter: “We are heartbroken to learn of yet another tragic incident of migrants taking the dangerous journey.

“I thank the Border Patrol Agents who responded to the scene and the HSI Agents who are supporting the investigation in Uvalde,” he said. “We will work with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office to hold those responsible. Smugglers are callous and only care about making a profit.”

Last year, 53 people died after dozens of people were found in the back of a tractor-trailer in sweltering heat during a smuggling attempt in southwest San Antonio. It marked the deadliest smuggling incident on the United States’ southern border.

The Mexican consulate in Eagle Pass, Texas, said on Twitter it was aware of the incident and in communication with U.S. officials to determine if any of the victims were Mexican.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times