Eighteen migrants have been found dead in a truck in Bulgaria, a Balkan country facing an influx in recent months not seen since the 2015 migration crisis.
“According to initial elements, the vehicle was illegally transporting about 40 migrants hidden under bundles of wood,” the Interior Ministry announced.
The cause of their death is unknown at this stage, but a road accident has been ruled out.
The police were informed by residents of the presence of an abandoned truck near the village of Lokorsko, about 20 km from the capital Sofia.
The smugglers who fled are being actively sought, the ministry said, while the injured occupants were taken to hospital.
Bulgaria, the gateway to the European Union, has seen an upsurge in illegal immigration into its territory over the past year, despite the presence of a 234 km barbed wire fence along the border with Turkey.
This drama echoes the discovery in 2019 of the bodies of 39 Vietnamese in a refrigerated truck near London.
Austria was hit by a similar tragedy in 2019. Police found a refrigerated truck abandoned on the side of an Austrian highway in Parndorf, near the Hungarian border, with 71 decomposing bodies of men, women and children on board.__Courtesy EuroNews