Two young sisters from Guatemala are among the 51 people who died inside a tractor-trailer in Texas in an apparent human smuggling incident, it was revealed on Tuesday.
Carla and Griselda Carac Tambriz — originally from the Colcajá canton, Nahualá, Sololá in Guatemala — perished in the truck carrying an estimated 100 people across the Mexican border into the US, according to Guatemalan and Spanish-language news outlets.
Authorities have identified at least 27 Mexicans, seven Guatemalans, and two Hondurans thus far, according to Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Consul of Mexico Ruben Minutti-Zanatta.
The nationalities of the other victims have yet to be identified. The fatalities include 39 men and 21 women, officials said.
Foreign Minister Ebrard said he was in communication with the Department of Homeland Security as well as Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Mario Búcaro.
“We will act together in support of victims and families affected by the tragedy in San Antonio, Texas,” Ebrard tweeted in Spanish.
Many of the survivors of the horrific trafficking incident are fighting for their lives in six area hospitals.
In all, 16 people were rescued from the 18-wheeler which had no water, air conditioning or refrigeration as temperatures in San Antonio reached a high of 103 degrees Monday.
First responders said they were hot to the touch and suffering from heat stroke. Three of the 16 didn’t make it and died in various hospitals.
Three patients were taken to Methodist Metropolitan and one, a woman, died there. Two of the five people rushed to Baptist Medical Center were unable to be saved and died.
Two Mexican citizens, including a 26-year-old woman in critical condition, are being treated at Texas Vista Medical Center and four patients — one who is critical — are being treated at Santa Rosa Westover Hill.
University Hospital has another two patients, according to Minutti-Zanatta.
One of the Santa Rose Westover Hill patients in a US citizen who is a suspect in the human smuggling incident, Minutti-Zanatta said.
The youngest known victim, a 16-year-old girl named Sebastiana from Guatemala, is being treated at Children’s Hospital.
The Catholic archbishop of San Antonio visited six of the victims in the hospitals and told the Post that the young teen was the on one able to speak as the others were sedated.
First-responders described a grisly scene as they approached the abandoned tractor-trailer Monday evening. They found “stacks of bodies” that were allegedly sprinkled with steak seasoning to mask the stench of decay.
Bodies also were found for blocks around the truck’s location, suggesting that some of the migrants had tried to make their escape while the vehicle was still moving, the San Antonio Express-News said.
“They’re people. They have families. They have suffered enough to make that kind of a trip to the United States with hope to connect with family and to live a more dignified life,” archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said. “These are the poor, the neglected.’’
Officers found the driver of the truck in a nearby field and he was taken into federal custody, police said. Two other men were also arrested.