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crisis

A warning to Europe: Up to 50 people found suffocated in a truck in Austria

An investigation is underway which includes police from Hungary.

Updated 2.12pm

DOZENS OF PEOPLE were found dead in a truck on an Austrian motorway today.

It is understood they suffocated to death.

Police in Austria have said the deceased were migrants but it is not yet clear how long they had been in the lorry.

According to local reports, between 20 and 50 bodies were discovered in the vehicle. It was found on a parking strip off the highway in Burgenland. It had been there since Wednesday and initial indications are that the driver fled.

Austria Migrants Ronald Zak Ronald Zak

Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum is at the scene and has been tweeting about the forensic work being done on site. She has also given a sense of the terrible smell of death that has surrounded the area.

Forensic examiners will need a number of days to secure evidence from the scene.

At a press conference, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said the “tragedy affects us all deeply”.

“Human traffickers are criminals. Anyone still thinking that they’re kind helpers cannot be helped.”

The horrific find comes as Europe tries to get to grips with an influx of migrants from war and poverty torn states in the Middle East and Africa.

So far in 2015, a record number of people have braved long sea and land journeys in attempts to enter EU states.

An investigation is being launched which will include police from Hungary.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has said the “horrible” event is a warning to Europe to deal with the crisis.

“We were all shaken by the horrible news that up to 50 people died… although these were people coming to seek safety,” Merkel said in Vienna. “This is a warning to work to resolve this problem and show solidarity”.

With reporting AFP

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