"So these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water", San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.
Several other people have been taken to hospitals. Though the incident appears to be an attempt to smuggle migrants into the US, the local police have said it is being considered a human trafficking crime.
He said store security footage showed that some vehicles came to pick up some travellers who were on the truck and who had made it out alive.
The truck's driver was arrested and will be charged, said Richard Durbin, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, and prosecutors will work to identify others responsible. At least 39 people were inside the big rig truck. Apart from recovering the eight dead bodies, the officials also rescued 23 people from the tractor-trailer, who were in critical condition.
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There have been many cases of migrants - often scores at a time - stranded and killed in northern Mexico when the truck they were being transported in was abandoned in heat by drivers. The truck's airtight doors, turned the trailer into an oven, as outside temperatures in San Antonio exceeded 100 degrees.
San Antonio is a USA city close to the border area with Mexico. "Checking the video from the store, we found there were a number of vehicles that came in and picked up a lot of folks that were in that trailer that survived the trip".
Authorities believe this was a smuggling attempt and San Antonio police say that U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement agents were also called to the scene, KENS5 reported.
He said some of the people who had been in the truck had left to the nearby woods. He said police had already combed the area for them and would continue their search on Sunday.