At least 54 migrants who were travelling by lorry were killed and at least 76 more injured when the vehicle plunged 40 metres off a bridge on a highway in southern Mexico.
Alfredo Castillo, the Guerrero state governor, said the dead passengers had been taken to a local hospital and emergency officials were trying to establish their nationalities.
The lorry’s driver, identified as Pablo Valdez, 58, was detained, according to the Associated Press. He was in stable condition, according to Reuters.
“It’s very clear to me they were migrants,” said Ernesto Espinoza, a port worker and volunteer rescuer who said many of the victims had head wounds.
The driver reportedly told port workers that a gang that scouts traffic routes had pointed out the driver’s destination on the highway in the southern state of Guerrero.
Prosecutors have yet to determine whether the vehicle was heading to the US or to Mexico City, the capital.
Officials said 70 passengers were travelling in eight vehicles on the highway near Acapulco at the time of the accident.
The bodies were sent to a nearby port and taken to an underdeveloped town called Pedregal for identification.
According to The Guardian’s partners in Mexico, speaking on condition of anonymity, one witness said he heard screaming and shouts of “Help! Help!” before the incident.
“I saw the vehicle like a big sheet of metal and I didn’t know where it came from,” said the man, who was sitting on a small boat close to the bridge on which the vehicle fell.
He said he counted about 20 people that looked like young men in red shirts or red baseball caps. “They were covered in blood. A lot of them, they were screaming for help. But there was nobody to give it to them.”
The victims were found at the bottom of the red truck with the vehicle, which was about a third of its original size, leaning against the bridge.
It remains unclear where the group came from and where they were headed but the injured and dead were all travelling in vehicles with Mexico as their destination.