EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A Sunday crash on the Oaxaca-Puebla highway claimed the lives of 17 Central and South American migrants hoping to make their way to the United States, Mexican officials said.

Police responded to the accident around 2:30 p.m. and found a gut-wrenching scene involving more than a dozen bodies and an equal number of passengers badly hurt during the accident, Puebla Secretary of Government Julio Miguel Huerta said during a broadcast Monday in the state’s social media accounts.

Puebla state Secretary of Government Julio Huerta (center) talks about 17 migrants dead in bus crash in Puebla, Mexico, on Sunday.

Emergency responders declared 15 people – both males and females – dead on the scene and transported 15 others to the general hospital in Tehuacan, Puebla. Two of the injured died overnight and eight others remained in critical condition, Huerta said.

Puebla state authorities said all of the passengers on the bus were from Venezuela, Colombia or Central America. All of them lacked documents to verify their legal stay in Mexico, Huerta said.

The state official did not address the cause of the crash, but the newspaper La Jornada reported the bus experienced brake failure and struck a wall on the side of the highway.

This is the second fatal bus accident involving migrants in less than six months in Southern Mexico highways leading out of Chiapas, a state where foreign nationals come across the border from neighboring Guatemala on a daily basis, Mexican officials said. In October, five Nicaraguan migrants died and 11 were injured in a bus accident on a highway in Veracruz, east of Puebla.