A Kongwa district official said a total of 113 people were said to be travelling in the truck, All Africa
reported. Seventy people survived the incident. The Guardian Nigeria
reported survivors told how they screamed to the driver to stop the truck as people began passing out due to lack of air. They reported "When the driver finally stopped, he ordered the migrants dump the corpses and clean the truck, but then roared off leaving the Ethiopians behind in a remote area."
Local residents were alerted by the foul stench of decomposing bodies, and raised the alarm. Survivors are receiving medical treatment and police are questioning them.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister Pereira Silima said
”It is extremely sad and unfortunate that people die by using wrong and self-torturing means to illegally transport themselves to other destinations."
Migrants typically pay between $3,000 to $4,000 to be smuggled from Ethiopia and Somalia to South Africa. The smuggling route passes through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi or Zambia, Zimbabwe or Botswana and then into South Africa.