New Delhi, Jan 22 (PTI) With a family of four Indians, including an infant, found dead near the US-Canada border, government sources here said Indian missions are in touch with Canadian authorities for ascertaining the details of the tragedy and the post-mortem of the victims is likely to be carried out on January 24.
US authorities have detained seven people without proper documentation, as well as one US citizen, for allegedly being involved in human smuggling activity from Canada to the US, they said.
The sources said that on January 19, US authorities in Minnesota State, near the US-Canada border, came across a group of people who were apparently without proper documentation.
Based on information obtained from them, Canadian authorities launched a search and found four bodies in Manitoba province on the Canadian side of the border, they said.
These four people — a man, a woman, a teenage boy and an infant — appeared to have died due to cold, the sources said.
The people without proper documentation on the US side, as well as the dead people on the Canadian side, appear to be Indian nationals, they said.
However, further efforts are underway to identify them and confirm their nationalities, the sources added.
Post-mortem of the victims is likely to be carried out on January 24, the sources said.
“US authorities have detained seven people without proper documentation, as well as one US citizen, for allegedly being involved in human smuggling activity from Canada to the US. One of them is still hospitalised due to cold-related injuries. Earlier one more person had been hospitalised,” a source said.
The Consulate General of India in Toronto immediately sent a consular team to Manitoba, which is now liaising with local authorities to render any consular help regarding the four dead people, the sources said.
The Consulate General as well as the High Commission in Ottawa are also in touch with Canadian provincial and federal authorities for ascertaining details of this tragedy, they said.
On the US side, the Consulate General of India in Chicago has urgently sent a consular team to Minneapolis, which is now coordinating and rendering consular assistance.
They have sought consular access to the detained persons, the sources said.
The Consulate and the Embassy in Washington D.C. are also in touch with the US Department of Justice, and the US Customs and Border Police.
Indian missions and posts will continue to extend all assistance, the sources said.
A criminal complaint was filed on Thursday in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota against 47-year-old US citizen Steve Shand, who has been charged with human smuggling.
On Thursday, the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said that the bodies of four people — two adults, a teen and an infant — were found on the Canadian side of the US/Canada border near the Emerson locality in south central Manitoba on Wednesday.
The family, believed to be Gujaratis, died from the exposure to extreme cold weather. PTI ASK ANB ANB
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Source: The Print