Austrian Officials Say 71 Bodies of Migrants Found in Truck


Large groups of desperate migrants fleeing mayhem and war across Africa and the Middle East have known for a long time they risk death while at sea and harm from money hungry smugglers in their attempt to reach Europe safely. However, it all became dramatically clear that they are now facing similar dangers within the borders of Europe.

Late Thursday, officials in Austria found 71 decomposing bodies of people they believe include a number Syrians based upon one passport a victim was carrying. The bodies were found inside the back of a refrigerated truck that had been abandoned on the outskirts of Vienna.

This discovery came at the same time leaders in Europe were meeting in a palace nearby to devise different ways to cope with the current migration crisis.

Police in Austria said Friday that they suspected three people were involved with the incident and all of them were detained in Hungary.

Included amongst the dead were 59 men, 8 women, 3 boys between the ages of 7 and 10 and one girl.

A preliminary investigation carried out by Hungarian and Austrian officials led to officials arresting the three in Hungary whom they believe are the lowest ranking members of a much wider Hungarian-Bulgarian ring of human traffickers, said one of the Hungarian law enforcement officials in the investigation.

In another case, 10 migrants from Syria were hurt on Friday when a van they were traveling in overturned in Hungary, said police.

Authorities in Austria said they would be increasing the controls on their borders following the deaths and due to the growing number of people streaming into their country.

However, they stressed they could not stop every one of the more than 3,000 trucks entering the country each day from the east.

The news of the corpses overshadowed the meeting of leaders of Europe and added new worries to the region that the complexity and scope of this crisis had increased.