At Least 7 Illegal Migrants Drown in Watery Crash in Mexico

A truck carrying illegal migrants from Central American plunged into a reservoir in southern Mexico and at least seven people drowned, officials said Monday.

Crews recovered the bodies of five men and two women after an 18-hour search Sunday at the La Angostura dam near the border with Guatemala, where the victims were believed to be from, La Concordia police commander Daniel Sanchez said.

The migrants had been hidden under a floorboard beneath a load of kitchen goods and were trapped when the driver apparently lost control and the vehicle sank in 65 feet (20 meters) of water, Sanchez said.

Many Central American migrants travel across Mexico in dangerous conditions en route to the United States, and a few stay to work illegally in Mexico itself. More than 180,000 were detained in 2007, according to Mexico's National Migration Institute.

Many once traveled as stowaways in railway freight cars, but they sought new routes north after Hurricane Stan damaged train tracks in southern Mexico in 2005.