At least 16 migrants, including three children, were killed in a horrific early-morning bus crash in southern Mexico on Friday, Oaxaca state officials said. Most of the passengers were migrants who are thought to have been attempting to reach the United States.
Three children and two women are among the victims, all of whom are from Venezuela and Haiti, the Oaxaca state attorney general said. Later reports from some sources said that the passengers included Peruvians.
Many migrants travel without passports, so in some cases it may be difficult to identify the deceased.
At least 27 people were injured and transported to nearby hospitals.
Pictures posted by authorities on Facebook show the large bus flipped over and heavily damaged on a curve of the mountainous Oaxaca-Cuacnopalan highway.
La @CEPCyGR_GobOax intervino y brindó auxilio ante un accidente carretero suscitado en el kilómetro 88 de la autopista Oaxaca-Cuacnopalan, donde un autobús con 55 personas migrantes, la mayoría de nacionalidad venezolana volcó. @salomonj @GobOax pic.twitter.com/ndZfwxrAmT
— Coordinación Estatal de Protección Civil (@CEPCyGR_GobOax) October 6, 2023
At least three of the migrants killed are children, in addition to two women and 11 men, according to the National Migration Institute.
Twenty-nine others were injured, though there was no immediate information on their condition.
The carnage was so severe that the NMI originally reported that 18 were killed, but later lowered the figure — claiming there had been an overcount due to some of the bodies being dismembered.
Photographs of the accident show the passenger bus lying on its side on a curvy section of the highway with its top blown off.
The windows on the left side of the bus were shattered, leaving what appeared to be luggage and pieces of the vehicle strewn across the street.
Salomón Jara Cruz, the governor of Oaxaca, said that state officials were joining multiple other national, state and municipal agencies in providing aid to those involved in the crash.
“We deeply regret the fatal accident that occurred on the Oaxaca-Cuacnopalan highway, in which several migrants died,” he said on X. “Our condolences to the families of the deceased and all our solidarity and support to the injured.”
The surviving migrants are being awarded a Visitor Card for Humanitarian Reasons to allow them to continue receiving medical care while in the foreign country, the NMI said.
The tragic crash is the latest in a series of migrant deaths in Mexico amid a surge in migrants traveling toward the US border.
Last week, 10 Cuban migrants died — including one minor — and 17 others were seriously injured after a freight truck they were riding in crashed on a highway in the neighboring state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala.
The Institute said the driver of the vehicle had apparently been speeding and lost control of the truck, which was carrying 27 migrants at the time. The driver fled the scene.
Also in the same Mexican state last week, a truck flipped over on a highway in Chiapas, killing two Central American migrants and injuring another 27.
A huge number of migrants have been making the dangerous journey across the Mexican border in order to find asylum in the US.
In September alone, more than 260,000 migrants crossed into the US — setting a new monthly record that would be the equivalent of the population of a mid-size city in the US.