British police found the bodies of 39 people inside a truck believed to have come from Bulgaria at an industrial estate to the east of London on Wednesday. The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, is in custody.
All those in the container, 38 adults and one teenager, were pronounced dead at the scene after the emergency services were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park, not far from docks on the River Thames.The truck was thought to have entered Britain at Holyhead, a North Wales port that is a major entry point for traffic from Ireland, on Saturday and to have originally started its journey in Bulgaria, police said.
Police officers in forensic suits were on Wednesday inspecting a large white container on a red truck next to warehouses at the site. Police said finding out who the victims were was their top priority, while a key line of inquiry was determining the truck’s route from Bulgaria to Ireland and then onto Britain.
For years, aspiring immigrants have attempted to reach Britain stowed away in the back of trucks, often seeking to reach the United Kingdom from the European mainland.
In Britain’s biggest illegal immigrant tragedy in 2000, British customs officials found the bodies of 58 Chinese people crammed into a tomato truck at the southern port of Dover.