51 people have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer truck in San Antonio, in one of the deadliest human trafficking tragedies in the US.
39 men and 12 women were discovered in a truck parked next to railroad tracks on the outskirts of the south Texas city on Monday, where temperatures reached a high of 39.4C.
The city's Police Chief William McManus said a person who works in a nearby building heard a cry for help and came out to investigate. The worker found the trailer doors partially opened and looked inside to find a number of dead bodies of migrants.
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said his team found "stacks of bodies" and no signs of water or visible working air conditioning unit in the truck, which is believed to have been carrying 100 migrants.
"None of us come to work imagining that," he said at a news conference.
Watch: San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood addresses the media. Post continues below.
Many people inside the truck reportedly appeared to have been sprinkled with steak seasoning, believed to be an attempt to cover up the smell of people as the smugglers were transporting them, a law-enforcement official said, according to the Texas Tribune.
Sixteen people were transported to hospitals for heat stroke and exhaustion, including four minors, the department said.
"The patients that we saw were hot to the touch, they were suffering from heat stroke, exhaustion."
The I-35 highway, near where the truck was found, runs through San Antonio from the Mexican border and is a popular smuggling corridor because of the large volume of truck traffic, according to Jack Staton, a former senior official with ICE's investigative unit.