‘Quite a few of them are already deceased:’ Dispatch calls from EMS responders reveal new details about tractor-trailer tragedy

SAFD Chief says bodies were hot to the touch

50 people died in tractor-trailer found in San Antonio on June 27, Mexico officials say. (Azian Bermea, KSAT 12)

SAN ANTONIO – A recording of the radio communications between emergency responders is providing new details about the mass casualty event where a large number of migrants were discovered in a tractor-trailer on Monday in San Antonio.

Marcelo Ebrard, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, tweeted Tuesday that 50 victims have died.

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KSAT obtained dispatch communications from Broadcastify.com, that reveal more details about the early stages of the tragedy.

The communications between first responders and SAFD dispatch begin about 10 minutes before 6 p.m.

“Got an 18-wheeler, looks to be about 60 people that are inside. Looks like quite a few of them are already deceased,” said one of the first responders on the scene. “We’re gonna start sorting through the ones that are currently breathing. None of them are able to talk as of yet, but we do have a lot of snoring respirations. I can count at least 10 that are that have snoring respirations.”

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said officers responded to a call for help at the 9600 block of Quintana Road after someone heard cries coming from inside the trailer. A man working in the area approached the trailer, which had its doors partially opened, and discovered “stacks of bodies.”

“They’re probably all going to be priority one,” a dispatcher says as he calls multiple EMS and fire units to the scene.

An emergency responder on the scene can be heard saying, “All patients will be priority one.”

“I’m counting right now about 12 that are breathing. We are trying to attempt to take the ones that are breathing off of the truck right now,” the emergency responder states.

He also requests more people to help inside the trailer and requests more backboards and medics.

“All the patients that we have are priority ones. They’ve been loaded onto units. The medics are preparing them for transport. We are now sorting through the remainder of the patients to see who else may be breathing,” the responder says.

Priority one is the highest level for emergency medical services.

The dispatcher then instructs the responders on the scene to recheck the remaining victims for signs of life to see if anyone else can be saved.

During a press conference on Monday, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said the bodies of the victims were hot to the touch. He revealed that first responders rescued 12 adults and four minors from the trailer and rushed them to local hospitals with heat-related injuries.

A Baptist Health System spokesperson revealed Tuesday that two of those patients have since died.

Survivors were taken to University Health, Central Methodist, Central Baptist and CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Westover Hills, according to Ebrard.

Hood revealed that 10 medic units were used to transport survivors.

McManus said the incident is the largest mass casualty event in San Antonio that he can remember.

Homeland Security will be handling the investigation.

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