TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico (AP) — A cargo truck jammed with people who appeared to be Central American migrants rolled over and crashed into a pedestrian bridge over on a highway in southern Mexico on Thursday, killing at least 49 people and injuring nearly five dozen others, authorities reported.
Luis Manuel Moreno, the head of the Chiapas state civil defense office, said a preliminary estimate listed 49 dead and 58 injured. He said about 40 injured had serious wounds and were taken to local hospitals.
That meant at least 107 people were crowed 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.
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 neighboring country of Guatemala.
Moreno 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.
In recent months, Mexican authorities have tried to block migrants from walking in large groups toward the U.S. border, but the clandestine and illicit flow of migrant smuggling has continued.
In October, in one of the largest busts in recent memory, authorities in the northern border state of Tamaulipas found an 652 mainly Central American migrants jammed into a convoy of six freight trucks heading toward the U.S. border.
Migrants involved in serious accidents are often allowed to stay in Mexico at least temporarily because they are considered witnesses to and victims of a crime.
Manuel De La Cruz And Edgar H. Clemente, The Associated Press