José Luis Ortega was 17 when he first tried to migrate from Honduras to the U.S. He took La Bestia —aka The Beast – a freight train that cuts through Mexico, heading towards the U.S. border. He slipped off the train. His right leg got caught on the tracks. He lost his right leg, right arm and three fingers in the accident.
At 29, José Luis now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with a group of other men who were also disabled on their journey north. It’s impossible to say how many people are injured, disabled or killed by falling off La Bestia. Some are never found. But in Honduras alone, there about 450 disabled migrants known to have been injured while traveling on the train.
Featured image: José Luis Ortega (Maryam Jameel)