A people smuggling gang abandoned up to 50 dead refugees at the side of an Austrian motorway after they suffocated in the back of an air-tight refrigerated truck.
The victims were found on a motorway near the town of Parndorf.
A spokesman for Austria’s Interior ministry confirmed the tragedy. He said: ‘Unfortunately there are many dead people in there.’
The spokesman said he did not have an exact figure of the death toll. He said the dead were likely to be refugees.
It is understood that the truck was abandoned by the people smuggling gang on Wednesday.
The truck was left abandoned on the side of the A4. Channel 4 news reporter Lindsey Hislum who is in the area described the scene on Twitter: ‘Just drove past truck on A4 in Austria with 50 dead refugees inside. Terrible smell of death as we passed.’
A full investigation into the tragedy has been launched.
Police official Hans Peter Doskozil said the truck, with Hungarian license plates, was found on the shoulder of the highway.
He suggested the victims had been dead for some time, telling state broadcaster ORF that the bodies appeared partially decomposed.
He said the truck was apparently abandoned Wednesday and its back door was left open, exposing the bodies to police.
The truck is believed to have travelled from Serbia, through Hungary and into Austria when it was abandoned.
It is believed the migrants suffocated after being locked inside the back of the refrigerated truck which would have been insulated and airtight.
Doskozil, the police chief of Burgenland province, said the state of the bodies made it difficult to say how many bodies were in the truck but estimated it could be up to 50.
‘We cannot confirm yet how they died.’
It is suspected that the driver abandoned the truck on Wednesday after the migrants suffocated. Read more at Daily Mail.