One survivor said the migrant truck driver in San Antonio dumped chicken meal on the floor to throw the dogs at security checkpoints. Related press on Tuesday.
At least 40 men and 13 women, believed to be Mexican migrants crossing the border into the United States, died after being found near and in an overheated truck in a remote area in San Antonio, Texas, on June 27.
Yenifer Yulisa Cardona Tomás, a 20-year-old woman from Guatemala City, told AP she was among the group of people who boarded an 18-wheeler on the Texas side of the Mexican border.
She told the AP that the driver confiscated people’s cell phones before they boarded, and also covered the truck’s floor with chicken powder to throw any dogs at security checkpoints.
Cardona Tomás said it was scorching hot when they got into the van and she and a friend decided to sit near the door where it would be cooler.
The overcrowding and heat, she added, got worse as the truck continued its journey and stopped to pick up more migrants.
“People were screaming, some were crying. Mostly women were calling to stop and open the door because it was so hot they couldn’t breathe,” she told the AP.
“People asked for water, some ran out, others brought some,” she said.
Cardona Tomás said there was no way to keep track of time and she eventually passed out.
The 20-year-old survived but is currently being treated at Methodist Metropolitan Hospital in San Antonio. Her friend also survived, she said.
The man suspected of being a lorry driver, identified as Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, was arrested and charged with smuggling foreigners leading to death, the Justice Department speak.
Another man, who was connected to Zamorano at the time, was also charged in connection with the incident.
Surveillance cameras from the past caught Zamorano driving the truck through the security checkpoint without issue prior to June 27, officials said.