MEXICO CITY — At least 49 people were killed and dozens injured in a horrific truck accident in southern Mexico on Thursday, the authorities said, with most of the victims believed to be migrants coming from Central America.
The accident, which took place in southern Chiapas state, occurred when a truck carrying more than 100 people overturned on Thursday afternoon near Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital, the head of the state Civil Protection Service, Luis Manuel García, told Milenio TV.
The death toll could rise, with at least three people gravely injured. The accident is one of the deadliest involving migrants in decades, and follows the death of 13 migrants in a car accident on the U.S. border in March.
On Thursday, images and videos shared on social media showed more than a dozen bodies laid out on the road covered in white sheets near what appeared to be the twisted remains of an overturned vehicle.
The Civil Protection Service for state of Chiapas said on Facebook that 58 people had been injured and were being treated at the site of the accident or taken to hospital.
The accident occurred on the highway between the town of Chiapa de Corzo and the state capital.
“My solidarity with the victims of the traffic accident,” the state’s governor, Rutilio Escandón, said on Twitter. “I have given instructions to provide prompt attention and assistance to the injured. Responsibility will be determined according to the law.”
Bordering Guatemala, the state of Chiapas has in recent years seen a surge of migrants from Central America, many of them being smuggled through Mexico on their way to the United States border. A record 1.7 million migrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America, were found trying to enter the United States illegally in the 12 months leading up to October this year.
The deadly accident comes just a day after the United States relaunched a contentious migrant enforcement program known as Remain in Mexico, which would force asylum seekers to wait across the border while their cases are determined in U.S. courts. The program has been heavily criticized by human rights groups because of the unsafe conditions migrants often face in Mexico.