53 die in horror crash of truck smuggling migrants

Tuxtla Gutierrez (Mexico): Rescue workers rushing to a highway accident found a horrific scene of death and injury after a freight truck jammed with as many as 200 migrants tipped over and crashed into the base of a steel pedestrian bridge in southern Mexico.

The migrants inside the cargo trailer were flipped, tossed and crushed into a pile that mingled the living and the dead.

By late Thursday, the death toll stood at 53, and authorities said at least 54 people had been injured.

It was one of the worst single-day death tolls for migrants in Mexico since the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants by the Zetas drug cartel in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

Volunteer rescuers hauled bodies off the pile by their arms and legs, while some migrants scrambled and limped to extract themselves from the twisted steel sheets of the collapsed container. One young man, pinned in a heap of unmoving bodies, wriggled to free the lower half of his frame from the weight of the dead piled atop him, his face wrenched into a grimace of life extracting itself from the clutches of death.

Nearby, a man blinked his eyes, unable to move as he lay on the shoulder of the road. Next to him was a fellow migrant, stouter and older, whose eyes no longer needed shading they stared, startled and lifeless, unblinking, into the setting sun. At the Vatican, Pope Francis, who visited Chiapas in 2015 and has made the plight of migrants a hallmark of his papacy, sent a telegram of condolences Friday to the archbishop of Tuxtla Gutierrez.

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