13 dead as semi-truck crashes into SUV packed with 25 people in California, Internet suspects 'human smuggling'

The car involved was a Ford Expedition which has a capacity of eight passengers, while it was reportedly carrying around 25 people between 16 and 55 years of age


                            13 dead as semi-truck crashes into SUV packed with 25 people in California, Internet suspects 'human smuggling'
Representational image (Getty Images)
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HOLTVILLE, CALIFORNIA: In a tragic highway accident on March 2, 2021, near the US-Mexico border in Southern California, at least 13 people lost their lives. The collision happened between an SUV and a semi-truck. 

The car involved was a Ford Expedition which has a capacity of eight passengers, while it was reportedly carrying around 25 people between 16 and 55 years of age. Social media users have expressed their shock and disbelief at how so many people managed to fit inside the car with limited seating. 

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Representational image (Getty Images)

How did the crash happen?

According to Omar Watson, California Highway Patrol Chief, the accident near Holtville happened when the SUV entered the intersection. The semi-truck was dragging two empty trailers at that moment and ended up colliding with the SUV. Though further details about the accident cannot be ascertained yet since the speed of both the vehicles is not known. 

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There were 25 people crammed into the SUV with the usual capacity of eight. It is unclear how so many passengers managed to fit into the vehicle together, reported CBS News.

Following the collision, 11 passengers and the driver, a 22-year-old man, died on the spot. Another critically injured person died at the nearby El Centro hospital. Six injured passengers were initially rushed to the El Centro emergency room, and three more were later transferred to Pioneers Memorial Hospital. The driver of the semi-truck, a 69-yeat-old man, sustained moderate injuries and is being treated at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. Four SUV passengers are also undergoing treatment here, including three in intensive care. The car involved in the crash was not registered to the driver, who has been found to hail from Mexicali, Mexico. 

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'This wasn't normal except in the human smuggling business'

Though further investigation is ongoing about the accident, Twitterati appears to be completely in shock about the fact that 25 people managed to fit into a family-size car.

"Ford Expedition. Eight seats, eight seat belts, normally. This wasn't normal except in the human smuggling business," said one user, while another user agreed, "A Ford Expedition is crowded with more than 6 people. 27? Either smuggling illegals or transporting a Mexican family." Another wrote, "This is wild.25 people in a Ford Expedition? RIP."

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The exact number of passengers seems to be up for debate at the moment since some publications have reported that there were 27 passengers, for example The Drive and News.Sky.

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"This is horrible. 25 people in an SUV?! The payload capacity for a Ford Expedition is around 1,757 pounds. That would put the weight at more than double, which means everything in the vehicle, from suspension to braking was severely compromised," tweeted a concerned user.

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