The victims were traveling in a Ford Expedition SUV with 25 people, despite the fact that the vehicle is planned to transport eight or nine
The 13 people who died Tuesday – at first 15 were reported – in southern California in a collision between their vehicle, packed with passengers, and a truck, were able to enter the United States illegally from Mexico, through an opening on a fence, authorities said.
The victims were traveling in a Ford Expedition SUV in which 25 people were traveling , despite the fact that the vehicle is planned to transport eight or nine.
Twelve people, including the driver, died in the accident and a thirteenth after being admitted to a hospital. At least 10 of the victims were Mexican. “They are all suspected of having entered the United States illegally,” the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.
That federal agency opened an investigation into a possible case of human trafficking linked to the accident and another that occurred a little earlier on the same Tuesday, in which another SUV caught fire in the same area.
When CBP agents arrived at the scene of the fire, they discovered “19 individuals hiding in nearby bushes and established that they had entered the country illegally through the opening” in the border fence, the federal agency explained.
Video surveillance images taken Tuesday morning show two vehicles leaving the area near a 10-foot-wide gap in the metal fence that separates the United States from Mexico, about 50 km from the crash site, near Holtville.
According to Gregory Bovino , head of sector at CBP, the first elements of the investigation into the crashed vehicle and the one that caught fire point to that hole in the fence.
“Human traffickers have shown on multiple occasions that they attach little importance to human life,” he said in a statement. The victims who died Tuesday are between 20 and 55 years old.
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