McALLEN, Texas – Nine undocumented Mexican migrants were killed and six others injured when the van they were traveling in crashed after the driver sped away from an immigration checkpoint in South Texas, authorities said Wednesday.
The accident took place in Palmview, west of McAllen.
Reports from the Border Patrol reveal that at around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, agents stopped a van coming from Mexico in which 19 people were riding and another vehicle on U.S. Highway 83, which runs parallel to the international border.
Authorities said four individuals who were traveling in the vehicle tried to flee and were pursued on foot by the agents, whereupon the van also took off in an attempt to escape.
According to the Border Patrol’s Enrique Mendiola, the agents then got into their own vehicles and four blocks away they found that the van had crashed and the site was strewn with backpacks, water bottles and bodies lying on the ground.
The van, built to carry eight people, had been modified to accommodate a driver and 18 passengers, officials said.
The Border Patrol report said that of the four people who tried to flee at first three have been captured.
Two of the immigrants who were injured are still hospitalized in critical condition.
The spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, Ricardo Alday, said that his country’s consulate in McAllen was notified of the incident on Wednesday morning.
“The consulate in McAllen is working today on locating the families in Mexico of those who lost their lives, as well as visiting in the hospitals the people who were injured to offer them consular aid and interviewing those they can find at the detention center,” Alday told Efe.
According to Mexican authorities, the nine dead immigrants were all men and the majority of the vehicle’s occupants had come from the southern state of Oaxaca. EFE