UK police have launched a murder investigation after 39 people were found dead in a truck container at an industrial park in Essex, 30 kilometres east of London.
The driver, a 25-year old-man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
According to London Media, Police believe the vehicle came from Bulgaria and entered the U.K. on Saturday. One of the victims was a teenager and all the rest were adults, they said.
“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said.
“We are in the process of identifying the victims, however, I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process”, he added.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged in a tweet to work closely with Essex Police to establish exactly what happened.
I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates and the Home Office will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened. My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 23, 2019
“My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones,” he said.
Police have not formally linked the deaths to people trafficking but a link is assumed because of the way the victims were crammed into the truck container.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said the container appeared to be a refrigerated unit, where temperatures could be as low as -25C.