Law enforcement officers work at the scene where people were found dead inside a trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Kaylee Greenlee Beal TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Terrible find in the blistering heat: 46 migrants who were allegedly illegally brought to the United States were found dead in the trailer of a parked truck on the outskirts of the Texan city of San Antonio. On Tuesday, a local hospital reported two more deaths.

According to US media, this is the deadliest human smuggling case in recent US history. A worker heard a call for help from the trailer on Monday evening (local time) and eventually discovered the bodies, local police chief William McManus said. The number of unauthorized border crossings has been record high in recent months.

At least 16 other people, including children, were initially taken to hospital with heat exhaustion and apparent dehydration, it said. There was no visible working air conditioning in the trailer, said San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood. “They were hot to the touch, had heat stroke, there was no sign of water in the vehicle,” he said of the victims.

In San Antonio it was around 40 degrees on Monday. Three people were arrested. “We don’t know if they’re actually involved or not,” Police Chief McManus said. The investigations were given to the federal authorities.

The authorities were initially unable to provide any information on the nationality of the victims. San Antonio is approximately 250 kilometers from the Mexican border. In May alone, the US authorities apprehended a good 239,000 people at the border with Mexico.

The number could rise to more than two million by September – that would be a record number of arrests in one year. Most of the people come from South America. Recently, however, the number of migrants from Turkey, India, Russia and Ukraine had also increased.

Criminal smuggling organizations operating inside the US often transport migrants in trucks after they have already crossed the US border. They are supposed to be smuggled past road checkpoints near the border.

There have been a number of fatal incidents in recent years – but the current incident is considered to be the one with the highest number of fatalities. In September, thousands of migrants gathered under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on the border with Mexico. The aggressive driving back of the migrants by US border guards on horses at the border river Rio Grande caused international outrage at the time.

“San Antonio is a gateway to America. And that’s how incidents like this happen all the time,” said the city’s mayor, Ron Nirenberg. He made serious allegations against the US government. The loss of life is a “product of decades of government inaction.” It’s not about any particular US government. “But it’s just a sad irony and a sad truth that we have millions of unfilled jobs, thousands in our own communities, because there just aren’t enough workers,” Nirenberg said. At the same time, there is no way to get people who want to work into these jobs.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre called the incident “absolutely horrific and heartbreaking.” US President Joe Biden will be kept up to date on this on a regular basis. The terrible find also caused horror internationally. It is not the first tragedy of this kind, said the spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani. It makes it clear that there must be safe routes for migrants.