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Migrants' 911 Calls Spur Search for Truck: 'We Are Dying'

Local authorities in San Antonio, DHS desperately seeking white tanker that may have 80 trapped
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2021 9:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Authorities from the San Antonio Police Department, Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, and even the Department of Homeland Security have embarked on a desperate search for a tanker truck that may be crammed with dozens of trapped migrants in a human smuggling operation. Sheriff Javier Salazar tells CBS News a disturbing 911 call came in Monday around 10pm local time from a man who told the dispatcher he and about 80 other undocumented immigrants were crammed into a white tanker, and that they were running out of air. "We are dying," the gasping man says in Spanish, with other voices yelling and crying in the background. "We don't have any more oxygen." After that four-minute call ended, another one came in soon after, with that caller saying even though "we don't see anything" from inside the truck, he believed they were parked on the side of a road "because cars are driving by."

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KABB has snippets of the graphic calls, which it notes came in to both the police department and the sheriff's office. The outlet, which reports one of the callers indicated others in the truck were already dead, also notes that a white tanker was caught Monday on surveillance video at around 11:30pm, pulling over to the shoulder of I-35 near Von Ormy alongside a black truck before leaving again. KENS 5, which has video, notes officials believe that may be the truck based on cellphone pings they traced to that area after the 911 calls. Salazar tells CBS he's sure they weren't prank calls, saying he'd wager "the rest of my paychecks for the rest of my life ... that this is not a hoax." "That was very real," he said of the calls, which he said were "heartbreaking." "You're literally hearing people that believe they're moments away from death." Anyone with info about the truck is urged to call the police department, sheriff's office, or the DHS hotline at 866-347-2423. (Read more migrants stories.)

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