8 found dead in sweltering tractor-trailer outside a San Antonio Walmart

Monday, 24 Jul, 2017

Police found eight people dead and 30 others suffering from injuries inside a semi truck's trailer in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, early Sunday morning, according to multiple reports.

Other cases of human trafficking in the United States have led to more deaths.

The truck had no working air-conditioning system, and temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Hood said.

"They were very hot to the touch". "It was a mass casualty situation for us".

A Walmart employee called police for a welfare check Saturday night after someone left the truck and asked them for water. The person also reportedly told the employee that there were people inside a trailer who needed help.

William McManus, San Antonio Police Chief said they discovered the bodies after a phone call late Saturday.

He called it "a horrific tragedy".

Police are searching the area to find anyone who may have attempted to flee the scene. They were victims of "ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo", he added. Of the 30 injured, 17 were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, and the remaining 13 were taken to the hospital in serious condition. Many of those found had heart rates of over 130 beats per minute and suffered from heat stroke. He added the driver is likely to face both state and federal charges, WCVB5 reported. It's believed that they were illegal immigrants and the victims of human trafficking.

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The US Department of Homeland Security was involved in the investigation into what happened.

The suspected driver of the vehicle has been detained, McManus said.

According to police, investigator checked surveillance video, and it showed cars approaching the truck picking up people from the trailer.

McManus said, "this is not an isolated incident".

San Antonio is located close to the Mexican border and has experienced hot and dry weather this week with temperatures topping 100F (38C). 28 others found in the trailer in SW SA were rushed to the hospital.

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Thomas Homan said the incident "ranks as a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished".

Authorities did not say whether the rig was locked when they arrived, whether it was used to smuggle the occupants across the border into the USA, or where it might have been headed.