Upon the incident, US President Joe Biden expressed grief and described Texas migrant deaths as horrifying and added the authorities are still learning all the facts about what happened.
The tragic loss of life in San Antonio, Texas that took place yesterday is horrifying and heartbreaking. Our prayers are with those who lost their lives, their loved ones, as well as those still fighting for their lives. As always, I am grateful for the swift work of all of the Federal, state, and local first responders," Biden quoted the White House as saying.
"While we are still learning all the facts about what happened and the Department of Homeland Security has the lead for the investigation, initial reports are that this tragedy was caused by smugglers or human traffickers who have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit," he added.
According to the US President, this incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths.
Earlier in the Monday briefing, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said that three people are in police custody, but it's unclear if they are involved in the tragedy.
Police received a call on Monday evening from a person working nearby, who heard a cry for help from the 18-wheeler in the southwest of the city, approached and saw bodies inside the trailer with its doors partially open, said McManus.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is leading an investigation on an alert by San Antonio police to "an alleged human smuggling event," a spokesperson from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday.
"There are, that we know of, 46 individuals who are no longer with us, who had families, who were likely trying to find a better life. And we have 16 folks who are fighting for their lives in the hospital," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told the briefing.
"Migrants seeking asylum should always be treated as a humanitarian crisis, but this evening we're facing a horrific human tragedy," he tweeted earlier.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, on Monday night, slammed Biden for the tragedy, tweeting: "These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies." (ANI)