The body of a baby girl aged one to two years old was among the decomposing bodies found inside a truck found abandoned in a highway in Austria. There were 71 bodies inside the truck – 59 men, eight women, four children, the baby and three boys estimated to be aged 8-10.
According to a report from Reuters, the truck’s back door was not locked but barb wires were used to shut it closed. As previously reported by Morning News USA, the truck belongs to a poultry meat selling company. Hence, the truck has refrigeration system. The police told Reuters that there was no indication that the system was used. Also, there were no holes or vents to make ventilation possible.
A related report from Reuters said the 71 migrants were packed full in the container that only measures 10 sq ft. Initial autopsy of the bodies indicated that they died from suffocation.
Hans Peter Doskozil, police chief for the province of Burgenland, told Reuters that there already had three arrests made in relation to the tragedy. Three suspects include the owner of the truck who is of Bulgarian-Lebanese origin and two men, one Hungarian and one Bulgarian, who drove the truck interchangeably.
Hungarian police separately said that they arrested a fourth man who is an Afghan citizen. They had also interrogated 20 people that could lead investigations to the leaders of a suspected human smuggling syndicate group.
Meanwhile, in another incident, three Syrian children were also found among migrants discovered behind a van also in Austria, Sky News Australia reported. Among the three children were two five-year-old girls and one six-year-old boy. The van was pulled over by the authorities near the German border. According to the report, the children were found in an “extremely bad state of health.”
The children were taken at a hospital for medical attention. However, police found Sunday that the children disappeared from the hospital. They are believed to be taken by their parents and may be on their way to Germany, police officer spokesman David Furtner told Sky News.
On Friday UNCHR said the tragedy highlighted two important issues about the migrant crisis in Europe: the ruthlessness of people smugglers who are only after profit and the desperation of people to escape to a new life in Europe.
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming highlighted that the Hungarian border police have been intercepting more than 2,000 people crossing the border from Serbia in just a period of one week. On Wednesday alone, police reported of 3,241 arrivals, including 700 children.
Fleming further said that these people walked along the rail tracks or crawl under barbed wire to cross the border. Then they walk on a 175 kilometers long wall at the border between Hungary and Serbia, she added.
“Fear of police detection makes many of them rush through the razor wires, sustaining cuts and injuries in the process. UNHCR staff at the border report that many people are arriving on wheelchairs pushed by relatives, while others are in need of urgent medical assistance,” Fleming told press in a conference in Geneva.