More than a dozen migrants found dead in abandoned truck at roadside in Bulgaria 'after suffocating'

17 February 2023, 19:17

Eighteen migrants were found dead
Eighteen migrants were found dead. Picture: Alamy

By Adam Solomons

Eighteen migrants reportedly suffocated underneath piles of timber in a truck abandoned by a roadside in Bulgaria.

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Around 40 migrants had travelled in the truck, authorities said.

Fourteen people were found alive, including eight in serious condition. They were taken to hospital.

Another ten people were found hiding in nearby woods and were taken to hospital to be examined.

It's not known where the travellers began their journey, nor their intended destination.

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Eighteen of its 40 passengers had died, police said
Eighteen of its 40 passengers had died, police said. Picture: Getty

Bulgarian health minister Asen Medzhidiev said conditions inside the lorry were "freezing and wet".

He said: "There has been a lack of oxygen to those who were locked in this truck.

"They were freezing, wet, they have not eaten for several days."

Police are searching for the human traffickers believed to have driven the truck, officials said.

They are thought to have fled.

Emergency services workers attend the scene where the truck was found
Emergency services workers attend the scene where the truck was found. Picture: Getty

Tensions on the Bulgaria-Turkey border have persisted in recent years as migrants from the Middle East seek to reach the EU.

Last year more than 150,000 people crossed the border, a quadrupling of the previous year's total.

Asylum seekers claim to have been blocked, arrested, stripped and physically hit by law enforcement.

The migrants' nationality is currently unknown, though local media identified them as Afghans.

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