A bus carrying migrants that made an illegal U-turn for a turn at a commercial truck stop off the Atlantic coast of Mexico early on Wednesday morning went down an embankment, striking a highway bridge, launching the bus over a 15-foot wall, and plowing through a few feet of highway, according to witnesses and state officials. The 50 to 60 people on board were believed to be Central Americans, many of them women and children.
Eventually, Mexico’s civil protection authority confirmed that at least 54 people were killed and 17 others were injured. Civil and federal police officers in Los Mochis, the border city where the crash occurred, launched a massive operation to help transport the bodies and the injured to hospitals, including the México Health Center; in the course of the search and rescue, more people were discovered dead. This is not the first time the Sea 1 bus has crossed a low, metal barrier of the road where the crash happened. A woman told Mexican news network Televisa that she was riding on the bus at the time of the accident, the local news network Excelsior reported.
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More from the Guardian, via the NY Times:
The highway closure affected traffic heading to the border crossing with the United States in Tijuana, across the Pacific from Los Mochis. Traffic in some areas was snarled as police officers struggled to control intense rushes of traffic that continued throughout the morning. About 500 soldiers and federal police officers were deployed to the area, said a statement from the Tijuana-based governor’s office. The governor’s statement also said vehicles not connected to the bus were being diverted around the area in order to accommodate the police investigation. Gov. José Aníbal Oliva told The Associated Press that “several children and women” were missing. He also said that the bus was operated by Emma Ferrer Tours, a company in La Paz, and not by the state government.
Between Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon, state police said that they had located several buses believed to be involved in the incident.
According to La Prensa, about one-third of the estimated 6,000 migrants known to be on the train heading north have asked U.S. authorities for asylum in the past couple of years. These mass departures from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, where the train originated, are often met with violence from the indigenous vigilante groups who guard their routes.
Get the LAT story in the a.m. ET or afternoon. Friday.