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Death Toll Climbs In Mexican Train Crash

The Associated Press reports six people are now confirmed dead after a train carrying hundred of Central American immigrants derailed near Huimanguillo in southern Mexico. The rain was loaded with tons of metal scrap. More than 200 Central Americans riding on top and between the rail cars were thrown or trapped in the wreckage.

At least some of the dead were trapped because they had tied themselves on to avoid slipping as they rode between cars.

The immigrants were being threatened and extorted by armed men before the train derailed, survivors told the AP on Monday.

Tens of thousands of Central Americans cross Mexico in increasing numbers in hopes of finding work in the U.S., even as Mexican migration slows. Gangs of armed men prowl the train line, robbing, kidnapping, extorting and raping those trying to cross Mexico.

Authorities say the train was traveling less than five miles an hour when it derailed. From the AP:

Mexican authorities said the accident victims can stay in Mexico legally for a year and apply for citizenship if they want. Mexican officials said they were investigating the cause of the crash. Authorities pointed to heavy rains softening the ground beneath the tracks as well as the possible pilfering of metal spikes and rail connectors from the tracks. Honduran and Guatemalan diplomats traveled to the area to help identify victims and provide assistance to the injured.

Al Macias, former KJZZ news director, is part of an elite class of trusted, veteran journalists who have covered Arizona news for more than 30 years.