At least 18 people, including a child, have died from a lack of air in the truck they were detained in, which was left on the outskirts of the town of Lokorsko, some 20 kilometers northeast of Sofia, Interior Ministry sources reported on Friday. Police found 40 visa-free migrants in the vehicle, 18 of whom had died of asphyxiation, locked in the wrong compartment under a load of wood, Efe news agency reports. Some of the survivors stated that for unknown reasons the smugglers abandoned the truck and escaped.
Public radio BNR reported that all of the dead were young men of Afghan nationality, according to Agence France Presse. Police are searching for the driver of the vehicle while the survivors were taken to hospital, according to Portal agency. Health Minister Asen Mejidiev said there was a lack of oxygen in the truck. “[Los supervivientes] They were freezing cold, wet, they hadn’t eaten for several days.”
This case commemorates the deaths of 39 immigrants who were found in a truck in Grays, Essex County, about 30km east of London, in 2019. On that occasion, the driver, a 25-year-old Northern Irishman, was arrested for murder. It wasn’t the only time traffickers left migrants in a vehicle to die.
Across the Atlantic, in the United States, the bodies of 51 dead migrants were found in the trailer of an abandoned truck southwest of San Antonio, Texas, last July. And in 2015, the bodies of 71 migrants were found in an abandoned refrigerated truck on a motorway in eastern Austria near the border with Hungary. On that occasion, three Bulgarian drivers were arrested and charged with murder.
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