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Florida bus crash kills eight Mexican nationals, injures dozens more

Authorities at the scene of the deadly bus crash Associated Press/Photo by Alan Youngblood

Florida bus crash kills eight Mexican nationals, injures dozens more

A bus carrying about 53 migrant agricultural workers crashed on Tuesday morning in Marion County, killing eight people and sending about 40 more to the hospital. Authorities are conducting a massive traffic homicide investigation, said Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan.

What caused the crash? A 2001 Ford Ranger truck sideswiped the retired school bus around 6:40 a.m. The bus then veered onto the road shoulder, ran through a fence, and overturned, according to Florida Highway Patrol. Authorities arrested the truck driver and charged him with eight counts of driving-under-the-influence-manslaughter. Workers reportedly were en route to Cannon Farms to harvest watermelons. Pray for the families and the loved ones involved in this tragic accident, Cannon Farms wrote on social media. The Farmworker Association of Florida launched a GoFundMe raising cash for those affected by the crash.

Were the migrant workers legally in the country? The men were in the U.S. on H-2A work visas, according to Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Bárcena. The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals into the country to fill temporary agricultural jobs. The Mexican Consulate in Orlando publicly called for information on the individuals involved in the crash, specifically information on their family members. The migrants all have what they need to be here, said Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods. They are hard-working individuals, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them being here, he said during a press conference.

Dig deeper: Read Addie Offereins’ report on the H-2A visa program’s effect on food prices.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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