Note: the number of dead in the truck has now been fixed at 71
A gruesome discovery was made yesterday on a highway in Austria when police looked inside an abandoned truck on the shoulder of the highway from Budapest to Vienna. It was a white refrigeration truck with pictures of chickens on the side and inside, stacked atop one another, were dead bodies.
It has been determined they are the bodies of migrants but an exact tally of the dead has not been given, with police saying the number is over 20 and possibly as high as 50. The truck has been taken to another location where forensic experts are examining both it and the bodies. It is not known how the truck got there or who left it. It is believed the dead are from Syria.
The chief of the area’s Burgenland police, Hans Peter Doskozil, said that the refrigeration unit in the truck was not on and the weather has been very hot of late, those elements causing the bodies to be badly decomposed and making idenficiation and determining the number of bodies difficult. It was Doskozil who said the number could be as high as 50.
Austrian summit on migrants
Police were called by an employee of a company that maintains the autobahn about the truck. Upon encountering it, officers were uncertain why it was parked along the side of the highway and thought perhaps it had mechianical trouble. They saw blood dripping from the vehicle and noticed a terrible smell; the back door was partially open and on looking inside they made their grisly discovery.
They found only the truck and bodies.
The discovery comes at a time when Austria is hosting a summit on the issue of migrants trying to gain Europe, most coming from African nations; to date more than 2400 of the migrants have died in ships trying to get to the European mainland this year. The summit is being hosted in Vienna and the truck was found about 25 miles from that city.
The truck had Hungarian licence plates but had belonged to a Slovak chicken company who said they sold it last year and that the new owner had been required to remove the logos but clearly did not. Police believe the bodies had been there for several days and an investigation has begun.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is at the summit and told press she was “shaken by the awful news that up to 50 people lost their lives on their way to look for more security.” She added that the dead are a reminder to Europe that they must “tackle the problem quickly and find solutions in the spirit of solidarity.”