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Truck containing 39 bodies entered UK from Belgium

21:13 23/10/2019

Belgium's federal prosecutor has opened an investigation after 39 bodies were found in a refrigerated truck in the UK which had passed through Zeebrugge port.

The truck's driver, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland, was arrested on suspicion of murder. British prime minister Boris Johnson described the deaths as "an unimaginable tragedy" and said the perpetrators of human trafficking should be "hunted down and brought to justice".

According to British police, the Bulgarian-registered vehicle arrived in Purfleet, Essex, on a ferry from Zeebrugge on Tuesday night.

"We do not know how long the container stayed in Belgium," said federal prosecutor's spokesman Eric Van Duyse, adding that the exact cause and times of death are also unknown.

The federal prosecutor said Belgium would cooperate fully with the British authorities. An investigating magistrate will be appointed to the case on Thursday.

Written by The Bulletin