At least 55 migrants were killed and dozens more injured in a truck crash in southern Mexico, officials say.

It is not unusual for freight trucks to be carrying so many people in migrant-smuggling operations in southern Mexico.
It is not unusual for freight trucks to be carrying so many people in migrant-smuggling operations in southern Mexico. (Reuters)

A cargo truck jammed with people who appeared to be Central American migrants has rolled over and crashed into a pedestrian bridge over on a highway in southern Mexico, killing at least 55 people and injuring nearly five dozen others.

Another 52 people also were hurt, three of them seriously, according to a preliminary report from the prosecutors in Chiapas, which borders Guatemala.

The crash occurred on a highway leading toward the Chiapas state capital. Photos from the scene showed victims strewn across the pavement and inside the truck’s freight compartment.

The victims appeared to be immigrants from Central America, though their nationalities had not yet been confirmed. Moreno reported that some of the survivors said they were from the neighbouring country of Guatemala.

Luis Manuel Moreno, the head of the Chiapas state civil defence office, said that it appeared the sheer weight of the truck’s human cargo may have caused it to tip over and that as the vehicle toppled over it hit the base of a steel pedestrian bridge.

That meant at least 107 people were crowded into the vehicle. It is not unusual for freight trucks in Mexico to be carrying so many people in migrant-smuggling operations in southern Mexico.

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Some migrants flee in fear 

Rescue workers who first arrived at the scene and who were not authorised to be quoted by name said that even more migrants had been aboard the truck when it crashed and had fled for fear of being detained by immigration agents.

One paramedic said some of those who fled into surrounding neighbourhoods were bloodied or bruised, but still limped away in their desperation to escape.

The truck had originally been a closed freight module of the kind used to transport perishable goods. The container was smashed open by the force of the impact. It was unclear if the driver survived.

Those who spoke to survivors said the migrants told of boarding the truck in Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, and of paying between $2,500 and $3,500 to be transported to Mexico’s central state of Puebla. 

Once there, they would presumably have contracted with another set of migrant smugglers to take them to the US border.

In recent months, Mexican authorities have tried to block migrants from walking in large groups toward the US border, but the clandestine and illicit flow of migrant smuggling has continued.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies