Tue | Apr 25, 2017

Migrants found dead, stacked in truck

Published:Friday | August 28, 2015 | 8:00 AM

PARNDORF, Austria (AP):

Austrian police yesterday discovered the badly decomposing bodies of at least 20 - and possibly up to 50 - migrants stacked in a truck parked on the shoulder of the main highway from Budapest to Vienna.

The shocking find came as Austria hosted a summit in Vienna on Europe's refugee crisis for Western Balkan nations, which have been overwhelmed this year by the tens of thousands of migrants trying to get into Europe via their territory.

Police ordered reporters at the scene 40 kilometres southeast of Vienna to move away from the vehicle, a white refrigeration truck with pictures of chicken on it. The truck, with all the bodies still inside, was later taken away to a secure location so forensic experts could examine it more thoroughly.

The state of the bodies on a hot summer day made establishing the identities and even the exact number of dead migrants difficult, but the total number could rise to 50, said Hans Peter Doskozil, chief of the Burgenland police.

Police spokesman Helmut Marban said police stopped shortly before noon Thursday thinking that the parked truck had some mechanical trouble. Then they "saw blood dripping" from the vehicle and "noticed the smell of dead bodies," he said.

The truck was apparently abandoned Wednesday and its back door was left open, Doskozil said. It had Hungarian licence plates but the writing on its side and back was in Slovak. The state of the bodies suggested the migrants could have been dead for several days.

Police said the investigation could last for days. They declined to give further information on the victims' possible identities, whether children were among them, how the migrants may have died or other details.