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15 more migrants killed in Mexico crash return to Guatemala

December 30, 2021 GMT
A coffin containing the remains of a Guatemalan migrant killed in a truck crash in southern Mexico, is carried to a waiting vehicle on the tarmac of La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Fifteen more Guatemalan victims of the Dec. 9 migrant smuggling accident that left 56 migrants dead were returned to Guatemala Thursday for burial. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)
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A coffin containing the remains of a Guatemalan migrant killed in a truck crash in southern Mexico, is carried to a waiting vehicle on the tarmac of La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Fifteen more Guatemalan victims of the Dec. 9 migrant smuggling accident that left 56 migrants dead were returned to Guatemala Thursday for burial. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)
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A coffin containing the remains of a Guatemalan migrant killed in a truck crash in southern Mexico, is carried to a waiting vehicle on the tarmac of La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Fifteen more Guatemalan victims of the Dec. 9 migrant smuggling accident that left 56 migrants dead were returned to Guatemala Thursday for burial. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The bodies of 15 more migrants killed in a Dec. 9 truck crash in southern Mexico were flown home o Guatemala on Thursday.

The remains in brown wood-colored coffins were delivered by a Mexican military C-295 transport aircraft.

The coffins were unloaded at a Guatemalan base and handed over to their families. Most were expected to be buried in their hometowns Friday.

“Today is a very sad day for Mexico, as we know it is for Guatemala,” said Laura Elena Carrillo, the director of Mexico’s international cooperation agency. “These people went looking for a dream, and today they return to rest in their own land.”

The Mexican government said that so far, 50 of the 56 migrants killed when a people smuggler’s semi-trailer truck rolled over on a highway have been identified. A total of 25 have been returned to their homelands, with another five expected to be returned soon, it said.

Of the 50 identified dead, 37 were from Guatemala, 11 from the Dominican Republic, and one each from El Salvador and Ecuador.

The first four bodies of Guatemalan victims were returned earlier this month, and 18 more are to be returned later.

Authorities say fingerprints have been used to identify the bodies as well as relatives’ identification of their loved ones through photographs.

More than 100 migrants were injured in the crash, and Guatemalan authorities say 27 of them remain hospitalized.

Assistant Guatemalan Foreign Minister Eduardo Hernández said some of those injured in the crash had resumed their trek north toward the United States despite the accident.

The truck was packed with as many as 250 migrants, and survivors said that speed and weight of the human cargo might have played a role in the crash.