Coatzacoalcos (Mexico) (AFP) - Nearly 150 Central Americans being smuggled to the United States were rescued Saturday in Mexico after traveling tightly packed in a poorly ventilated truck.
The rescue was initially described by authorities in eastern Veracruz state as a near-tragedy with chilling similarities to an incident last week in Texas in which 10 would-be migrants to the US perished.
But Mexican federal authorities later clarified that these travelers were found not inside the truck but rather after they had been told to get out, and were then abandoned by the roadside, without food or water.
Authorities said a total of 147 people were found in the town of Tantima in Mexico’s Veracruz state. Originally the figure had been given as 178.
The migrants were from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and 48 were minors, 14 of them unaccompanied, the National Migration Institute said.
The migrants were crowded into the back of a tractor trailer truck with poor ventilation. Eventually, the smugglers overseeing them told the travelers to get out and hide amid the brush beside the road until them came back for them. But the travelers were abandoned.
After being found the Central Americans were taken to a migration center, where they were given medical assistance before authorities began the process of returning them home.