Wednesday 7 December 2016

Three arrested after 'more than 70 bodies' discovered in Austrian refugee lorry

Angelika Gruber, Karin Strohecker and Sarah Stack

Published 28/08/2015 | 08:14

A truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, stands parked on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, stands parked on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A forensic police officer stands next to a parked truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Forensic police officers work next to a parked truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Forensic police officers inspect a parked truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A truck, in which up to 70 migrants were found dead on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015, is towed away. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Forensic police officers inspect a parked truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Forensic police officers inspect a parked truck (centre L) in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A truck, in which up to 70 migrants were found dead on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015, is towed away. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Police stand near a truck that stands on the shoulder of the highway A4 near Parndorf south of Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Investigators search traces at a truck that stands on the shoulder of the highway A4 near Parndorf south of Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
A truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, is prepared to be towed away on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Police investigates a truck that stands on the shoulder of the highway A4 near Parndorf south of Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Forensic police officers inspect a parked truck in which up to 70 migrants were found dead, on a motorway near Parndorf, Austria August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Three people have been arrested in connection to an incident in which more than 70 bodies were discovered in the back of a lorry, Austria police said.

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Investigators found the partly-decomposed bodies in a lorry full of refugees discovered abandoned on an Austrian motorway on Thursday.

Austrian police had originally put the toll at up to 50 and are due to announce the exact number within hours. The lorry had come to Austria from Hungary.

Police made the grisly discovery in the 7.5-tonne lorry stopped on the A4 motorway near the town of Parndorf, apparently since Wednesday, Hans Peter Doskozil, police chief in the province of Burgenland, told a news conference.

The refrigerated truck was found by an Austrian motorway patrol near the Hungarian border just before lunchtime on Thursday, with fluids from the decomposing bodies seeping from its back door.

It had been left abandoned on the roadside of the highway, which leads from Hungary to the Austrian capital Vienna.

"Work continued throughout the night, but I expect all the bodies have been removed now," said Helmut Marban, a police spokesman for the Burgenland province. "Forensic investigators are still at the lorry and trying to establish all the facts."

The truck is at a customs building in the village of Nickelsdorf, which has refrigeration facilities and where forensic specialists clad in white protective suits and yellow rubber boots could be seen wheeling body bags away.

Meanwhile, Ireland's failure to take a larger number of refugees has been criticised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Chancellor Merkel said the discovery had shaken European leaders discussing the migrant crisis at a Balkans summit.

"Some countries, one has to say, are not taking part in the common European asylum policy, like the UK, Ireland and Denmark," she said.

She said there are more refugees in the world than at any time since the Second World War. "The world's eyes are upon us," she said at a summit in Vienna.

The Department of Justice said it announced a package of measures last month to help asylum seekers, including agreeing to "relocate 600 people over the next two years".

The Naval Service is also taking part in rescue missions.

Meanwhile, hundreds are feared dead after two boats carrying up to 500 migrants capsized off the Libyan coast.

Reuters

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