Mexico truck crash: At least 49 people killed as trailer overturnson December 10, 2021 at 1:51 am

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Dozens are injured when a trailer crammed with Central American migrants overturned, officials say.

A photo of the truck lying on its side

Image source, Reuters

At least 49 people have been killed and dozens more injured after the truck they were being transported in crashed in southern Mexico, authorities say.

Some 100 people, said to be migrants from Central America, were crammed into the trailer when the truck rolled and hit a bridge in the state of Chiapas.

Pictures from the crash scene show victims strewn across the road next to the overturned truck.

There were also rows of what appeared to be bodies covered in white cloths.

At least 58 people have been taken to hospital with injuries, said Luis Manuel Garcia, head of the Chiapas civil protection agency.

He said the victims included men, women and children. Most of the the people in the trailer were migrants from Honduras, the local fire brigade chief told Reuters news agency.

The truck reportedly overturned on a dangerous bend and hit a pedestrian bridge on a main road leading to the Chiapas state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

Chiapas, which neighbours Guatamala, is a major transit point for undocumented migrants.

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Hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America try to cross through Mexico each year in a bid to reach the US.

Many of them pay smugglers, who illegally transport them in crowded and dangerous trucks on the long journey.

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador described the crash as “very painful” and wrote on Twitter that he “deeply regrets the tragedy”.

Analysis box by Will Grant, Mexico and Central America correspondent

Last month, a migrant caravan heading through Chiapas found that the local authorities had clamped down so hard on people providing lifts to migrants, they effectively had to undertake the entire journey on foot.

That meant carrying their children in their arms in the blistering heat and torrential downpours of southern Mexico’s rural states.

It’s a tactic employed by the government to try to break the migrants’ will, to see if any will give up and turn back or accept asylum conditions in Mexico.

Throughout it all, trucks have continued to transport thousands of migrants right under the noses – or with the complicity – of the state authorities.

Their trailers filled with scores of families standing in cramped and unsafe conditions for hours, it’s a wonder such accidents aren’t more frequent.

Often the biggest danger to the migrants is from suffocation as the people-smugglers fail to provide sufficient ventilation or hydration for the trip.

Yet most of those in this horrific accident came from Central America and will have been escaping economic ruin, the effects of severe weather from climate change on their livelihoods or gang violence. Or some combination of all of these factors.

With that in mind, many thousands more will continue to consider the dangers of the road to be a risk worth taking to flee the unbearable conditions at home.

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