'We are dying': Disturbing phone call sparks urgent search for 80 people

·2-min read

A massive search is underway for a truck and one person is in federal custody after a distressing phone call was made from inside the vehicle.

The desperate call to 911 was made on Monday (local time) in the San Antonio area and was obtained by US Spanish-language news outlet Telemundo on Friday.

It led Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the "possible human smuggling event", NBC News reported.

"We can't see anything. We're inside a tank truck. God, we have no oxygen," the caller says in Spanish.

Another a man is heard begging for help in the background.

Police believe the 911 call came from inside a truck in the San Antonio area. This photo shows the truck on CCTV.
The 911 call came from inside a tanker truck in the San Antonio area. Source: CNBC

The caller reportedly tells the dispatcher there were about 80 others in the truck, which may have been captured on CCTV footage.

"We are dying in here," the caller said, according to the Associated Press.

People can be heard gasping and screaming in the background before the call dropped out.

The call prompted federal, state and local authorities in Texas to search for the tanker truck.

Javier Salazar, the sheriff of Bexar County – which includes San Antonio, told the AP on Thursday all he wants now was to find out if the people survived the trip and made it to their final destinations.

Sheriff Salazar said he was not interested in prosecuting the people who were inside the tank because they’re victims. But he wants to hold those who trapped them accountable.

“That is the kind of thing as a first responder you lose sleep over,” he said.

“You are just wondering: ‘Are there people that were dumped in our county and just waiting to be found?’”

Federal officials confirmed to the Associated Press one person was in federal custody as the investigation continued.

ICE's statement could not provide any more information.

“The investigation is still ongoing as agents are following up on leads to further the case and ensure the safety of the individuals,” the statement said.

With Associated Press

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