Second deadly discovery involving Texas freight train reported in border heat

For the second day in a row death befell a Texas freight train, this time in Eagle Pass, where one person was found dead and three others were injured, officials said Sunday.

Someone inside a freight train boxcar in the small border city called 911 to report distress Saturday afternoon, and responding U.S. Border Patrol agents found 12 people inside, railway Union Pacific reported.

One of the 12 was dead, and three others were hospitalized, the railway said. Their conditions were unavailable.

Eight others were detained, Union Pacific said.

The stopped car was in a Union Pacific rail yard, it said. The discovery follows Friday’s separate report of 15 suspected migrants on board a freight train about 70 miles northeast of Saturday’s incident.

The Friday report was made in Uvalde County, near the small town of Knippa, officials said. Two of the 15 were dead, and 10 were hospitalized, police in the city of Uvalde said.

Four of the 10 needing hospitalization had injuries urgent enough to have them flown to hospitals in San Antonio, Union Pacific said in a statement Friday.

Two of those were men who ended up at San Antonio’s top-level trauma center, University Hospital, where one was in critical condition and another in serious condition, a hospital spokesperson said.

Someone on the train in Uvalde County had also dialed 911 to report a medical emergency involving patients “suffocating,” Uvalde police said in their own statement.

The exact cause of the medical emergencies on both trains, which use the same line that runs from the U.S.-Mexico border to San Antonio and beyond, was unavailable.

The weather for both Eagle Pass and Uvalde County has been hot, with high temperatures forecast on Sunday to reach near 90 degrees or beyond, according to the National Weather Service.

Illegal Southwest border crossings remained as low as they’ve been since the first full month of President Joe Biden’s administration in 2021, according to U.S. Customs and Border protection numbers for February.

The dip in numbers came after the administration announced a new policy in which Mexico would take back asylum-seeking Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans under a policy meant to limit U.S. exposure to migrants with disease, including Covid-19.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the freight train discoveries are coincidental or representative of a new wave of migration among those desperate to reach the United States from points south.

“These incidents stand as a grim reminder of why we make every effort to stop people from trespassing on our property and on our trains,” Union Pacific said in its Sunday statement.

Other travel modes have seen tragedy in recent months as well.

On March 11, two suspected migrant smuggling boats became grounded near each other amid rough, cold seas at Blacks Beach in San Diego, where first responders found eight people dead, officials said.

And on March 17, an 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling and evading police after allegedly leading authorities on a vehicle pursuit in El Paso that ended in a crash that killed a 26-year-old passenger from Mexico believed to be in the country illegally, NBC affiliate KTSM of El Paso reported.

Anthony Cusumano contributed.