A freight train struck and killed six men who appeared to be sleeping on railroad tracks 60 miles north of Brownsville, Tex., early Monday, reports Lolita Lopez of CBS Affiliate KGBT-TV in Harlingen.
The 105-car train was on its way to Brownsville from Houston when the accident occurred in Kenedy County, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said. No cars derailed.
"When [the crew] saw the people lying between the tracks, there was no way they could stop," said Davis, adding that it could take a train that size up to a mile to stop.
No information was immediately available from the Kenedy County Sheriff's office about the victims. It is believed they were sleeping on the tracks at the time of the accident.
The bodies were taken to Corpus Christi, Tex., for autopsies. Authorities hoped that fingerprints would help identify the victims.
A can of food found alongside the tracks.
The accident occurred about 25 miles south of the Sarita checkpoint on the U.S.-Mexico border, and officials believed that the men were illegal aliens.
A Mexican national I.D. card was found near the victims, but police could not determine whether it belonged to one of the men. The group was carrying food and other provisions with them, which authorities were checking for clues as to who the victims were.
Union Pacific has worked with the U.S. Border Patrol and authorities in Mexico to discourage people from sleeping on train tracks. Some illegal immigrants and transients have been known to sleep there believing it will protect them from snakes.
"There is a great [misbelief] that if you sleep between the railroad tracks, snakes won't get you," Davis said. "Unfortunately, trains will."
After the train's crew was interviewed by authorities, they continued to Brownsville.