OAXACA, MX – A tragic bus accident in southern Mexico claimed the lives of 18 migrants, primarily from Venezuela and Haiti, early Friday, according to local authorities. The Oaxaca state prosecutors reported that the fatalities included two women and three children, while 27 others sustained injuries. The current state of the injured is yet to be disclosed.
The bus, carrying a total of 55 migrants, was found flipped onto its side on a winding stretch of highway, as per the images circulated by the Oaxaca state police. The reason behind the accident is still under scrutiny.
This incident is the most recent in a string of migrant fatalities in Mexico, as the number of migrants heading towards the U.S. border has seen a significant surge. Migrants and traffickers often resort to hazardous modes of transport, such as unregulated buses, trains, or freight trucks, as immigration agents frequently raid regular buses.
A similar incident occurred last week when a freight truck carrying 10 Cuban migrants crashed on a highway in the neighboring state of Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border, resulting in their death and severe injuries to 17 others. The National Immigration Institute reported that all deceased were women, one of whom was a minor.
The institute also noted that the truck driver, who fled the scene, seemed to have been speeding and lost control of the vehicle. Mexican authorities usually forbid migrants lacking proper documents from purchasing regular bus tickets. As a result, those who cannot afford to hire traffickers often opt for poorly-maintained, speeding buses or hitch rides on passing trucks.
Last week, another accident in Chiapas resulted in the death of two Central American migrants and injuries to 27 others when a truck overturned on a highway. Two more Central American migrants died in Coahuila near the Texas border last week while attempting to board a moving train.