Mexico recovers bodies of migrants killed in road crash
Mexican authorities initiated on Friday the grim task of recovering the bodies of more than 20 Central American migrants killed in a highway accident in the southeastern state of Chiapas.
Work began before dawn in the ditch where a truck carrying some 60 people overturned after running off the road in a mountainous area near the town of Soyalo, northeast of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital.
At least 23 people died and 31 others were injured in the crash, which happened at around 6.00 Thursday on the Ixtapa-Soyalo highway, the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office said.
Six of the 16 injured migrants undergoing treatment at Gilberto Gomez Maza Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez were listed in serious condition and the fatalities include two children, ages 2 and 7, the AG Office said.
Roads in the area are notoriously treacherous and poorly maintained.
The truck, a white, three-ton Ford Super Duty vehicle operating without license plates, went off the road at a spot 5km (3mi) from the Soyalo municipal limits.
The driver, who remains unaccounted for, apparently lost control of the vehicle on a curve overlooking the Bombana River.
An investigation is under way, the state AG Office said in a statement.
Officials also activated the established protocol for assisting migrants, the statement said.
Most of those aboard the truck were from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and the majority of the dead were Guatemalans.
The team working to recover the bodies includes more than 50 people, including paramedics, firefighters, Red Cross volunteers, state emergency services workers, a unit of the BETA migrant-aid service, military personnel and officials from the federal Health Secretariat.
Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, has become the Mexican port of entry for thousands of Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands with the aim of reaching the United States.
One of Mexico’s poorest states, Chiapas is struggling to cope with the influx.
The Guatemalan government issued a statement Friday lamenting the deaths of its citizens in Mexico.
“Regrettable accident in Chiapas plunges Guatemalan migrants into mourning,” the foreign ministry said, extending condolences to the affected families and wishing a rapid recovery to those who were injured.