Two migrants were found dead in a shipping container on a train the authorities stopped east of Uvalde, Texas, on Friday, according to local police. One other person was left in serious condition and another in critical condition.
In a news release Friday night, Uvalde police said they “received a 911 phone call from an unknown third-party caller advising there were numerous undocumented immigrants ‘suffocating’ inside of a train car.” US Border Patrol stopped the train, which was operating on Union Pacific tracks, near the town of Knippa, northeast of Uvalde, police said.
A total of 17 people were found on the train, including 15 men and two women, according to an official for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Union Pacific previously told CNN there were 15 people found in two different train cars. The railway reported that two of them died, four were airlifted to San Antonio, and six were taken to local hospitals.
San Antonio’s University Hospital said they had received two adults, one in serious condition and one in critical condition.
Three other individuals were found in a hopper car, which is used to transport loose bulk commodities like coal or grain.
The HSI official said the two people who died were men from Honduras.
HSI has opened an investigation into human smuggling regarding the incident.
“We are heartbroken to learn of yet another tragic incident of migrants taking the dangerous journey,” Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday night in a tweet.
In another tweet Mayorkas thanked “the Border Patrol Agents who responded to the scene and the HSI Agents who are supporting the investigation in Uvalde. We will work with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office to hold those responsible. Smugglers are callous and only care about making a profit.”
In a statement, Union Pacific said that they were “deeply saddened by this incident and the tragedies occurring at the border.”
“We take the safety of all individuals seriously and work tirelessly with law enforcement partners to detect illegal items and people riding inside or on our rail cars.”
In the past years, migrants have taken increasingly risky paths to evade detection and enter the US. Immigrant rights advocates have attributed the rise in deaths at the border to policies that have made it more difficult for migrants to seek refuge in the US, according to CNN’s previous reporting.
2022 was the deadliest year so far for migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, with 748 people dying at the border, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Friday’s discovery follows a June 2022 incident in which 53 migrants died after being packed into a tractor-trailer and abandoned on the outskirts of San Antonio.