8 people found dead in tractor-trailer in San Antonio
The driver of the truck has not been identified, but San Antonio police took him into custody and he could face state and federal charges.
Somebody from the truck asked a Walmart employee for water, and after bringing the water, that employee called the authorities.
The police chief also said some survivors had been spotted fleeing into the nearby woods.
The driver was arrested and almost 20 others rescued from the lorry were taken to hospital in a serious condition, many with extreme dehydration and heatstroke.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Thomas Homan said the incident highlighted the need to crack down on people smuggling.
Medical examinations are pending, but the eight dead are believed to have perished from exposure, asphyxiation, and dehydration, according to a statement from the SAPD. "We treat it like you would do an airline crash", explained San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood.
A further 30 inside the truck were injured, 20 of whom are reported to be in critical condition.
"We're looking at a human trafficking crime here", McManus said. The appeared to have been illegal immigrants being pirated into the country, officials said at the time. The company did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment. When police arrived, they found the dead bodies and dozens of other people inside the truck, many of whom were taken to the hospital.
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Authorities say several other people were found alive in the truck, which didn't have a working air conditioning system despite the blistering summer heat.
The National Weather Service's local office said that the temperature in San Antonio hit 101 degrees Fahrenheit just before 5pm on Saturday and didn't dip below 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Centigrade) until after 10pm. San Antonio is some 150-miles from the Mexican border.
Tractor-trailer in San Antonio containing over 30 people.
He called the case "a horrific tragedy".
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus briefed media at the scene, saying the driver of the truck had been arrested.
According to reports, the Department of Homeland Security is also assisting the investigation due to the severity of the crime.
"Checking the video from the store, we found a number of vehicles that came in and picked up a lot of the folks that were in that trailer, that survived the trip", McManus said.