UVALDE, Texas — Two migrants died and at least 13 others became ill after police received a call that they were “suffocating” in a train that was traveling in South Texas near the border of Mexico, authorities said.
According to a news release from the Uvalde Police Department, officials received a call at about 3:50 p.m. CDT from “an unknown third-party caller” stating that undocumented immigrants in a train were suffocating.
Of the 15 people discovered in two different cars of the Union Pacific train, four were airlifted to a hospital and six others were taken to area hospitals, KENS-TV reported.
The train, which was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents, was traveling about 2 or 3 miles east of the town of Knippa, according to The New York Times.
In a statement, Union Pacific said the train was traveling from Eagle Pass to San Antonio, according to The Associated Press. Twelve of the immigrants were found in a shipping container and the other three were discovered in a hopper car.
According to the railroad, the two people who died were in the shipping container, the AP reported.
According to the closest official reporting station, the temperature in the area was 87° degrees at 3:55 p.m. CDT, KSAT-TV reported.
“It’s sad to see that so many undocumented immigrants were found in this condition, and two of them lost their lives,” Uvalde police Chief Daniel Rodriguez told the television station. “It’s heartbreaking.”
🚨UNRESPONSIVE MIGRANTS FOUND IN TRAIN CAR UPDATE 🚨— John Paul Barajas (@KSATJohnPaul) March 25, 2023
Hwy90 was closed but is now open. The train where the migants were found is back up and moving as well. We’re on scene hoping to get more details from officials here. @ksatnews https://t.co/vbA0IBNFhU pic.twitter.com/GSEuJE4ONw
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas implied that the incident was linked to human trafficking and pledged to hold the people responsible, according to the AP.
“We are heartbroken to learn of yet another tragic incident of migrants taking the dangerous journey,” Mayorkas tweeted. “Smugglers are callous and only care about making a profit.”
In a statement, Union Pacific said it “took the safety of all individuals seriously.”
“Union Pacific is deeply saddened by this incident and the tragedies occurring at the border,” the transportation company said.