The bodies of up to 50 refugees have been found in the back of a lorry in Austria, it has been reported. The vehicle was discovered on the hard shoulder of the A4 highway, close to Parndorf, about 50 km (28 miles) southeast of the capital Vienna, according to Krone newspaper. It is understood they were trapped in the trailer and had suffocated after being unable to get out.
The van had been seen stationary by staff at a nearby service station and when it failed to move for some time, they called the police. The driver is believed to have fled the scene and is currently being sought by police. At a press conference in Eisenstadt, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said it demonstrated “the despicable methods used by Mafia traffickers in all their ugliness in Austria”. “Today is a dark day,” she added and vowed there would be zero tolerance shown towards any that were caught.
Earlier, three other vehicles were seized in Bruck an der Leitha, a short distance further northwest, one of which contained 34 refugees. That group had been saved but had complained about being almost unable to breathe once inside the back, Krone said. It was alleged that the driver had ignored multiple requests to stop on the journey from the Serbian border to Austria.