According to the Guardian, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the "horrific tragedy" was the result of "a human trafficking crime", and that the Department of Homeland Security was involved in the investigation.
Authorities are not sure how long the truck had been parked or where it had come from but surveillance footage showed several vehicles approaching the trailer to pick up survivors, police said.
Hood told journalists at the scene that paramedics and firefighters who treated the victims found all had accelerated heartbeats when they were taken from the truck in the stifling heat.
Cops originally discovered eight dead in the rig after one person escaped and begged a Walmart worker for water early Sunday, said officials. They are still investigating the case.
The truck's driver was arrested and will face charges, said Richard Durbin, US Attorney for the Western District of Texas, and prosecutors are working to identify others responsible.
Numerous people who survived the heat are in the hospital in serious or even critical condition, recovering from heat-related illnesses. "Air ambulances (AirLife), and the SAFD Ambus (mobile mass casualty transportation vehicle) were also both utilized to transport the multitude of patients we encountered".
Authorities said the driver had been held, but they didn't release the driver's identity. Right now we're looking at eight dead.
Eight people were confirmed dead, including two young children. "This happens quite frequently under cover of night".
In 2003, 19 would-be migrants died in an overheated truck while being taken from south Texas near the Mexican border to Houston. Though the driver initially received multiple life sentences at the time of his conviction, a federal appeals court reduced the sentence to 34 years in 2011. It's believed that they were illegal immigrants and the victims of human trafficking.
"By any standard, the horrific crime uncovered last night ranks as a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished", Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement. A refrigeration truck, with no refrigeration, was filled with 38 undocumented people.
Texas is the second-largest and the second most populous state in the United States.
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