Austria delivers Iraqi bodies found dead in truck

Austria delivers bodies of Iraqi refugees who suffocated in lorry found on Austrian highway to families

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Dozens of refugees found dead in lorry abandoned on Austrian highway

Austrian police said on Wednesday that 10 of the 71 dead bodies found in an abandoned lorry on a highway recently have been identified as Iraqis and four of them were handed over to their families.

The belongings of refugees such as mobile phones and their bags found among the corpses helped police to identify them. Also the relatives of victims who lost contact with them called Austrian police on the day the bodies were found, helping the police to identify them.

Some of the relatives headed to Austria to give genetic samples to authorities. Upon identification of the bodies, relatives requested transportation of the victims to their countries and the siblings of the 10 dead Iraqis were informed.

The bodies were found on 27 August in the back of the truck in Austria and included those of 59 men, eight women and four children.

According to police, the truck full of dead refugees might have been left by human traffickers and the oldest victim was aged 50.

Some travel papers found in the truck indicating that victims might have come from Afghanistan and Syria.

"Among these 71 people, there were 59 men, eight women and four children including a young girl one or two years old and three boys aged eight, nine or 10," police spokesman Hans Peter Doskozil said.

"There was also a Syrian travel document found so of course our first assumption is that these people were refugees, and likely a group of Syrian refugees. We can rule out that they were Africans," he told a news conference.

Doskozil also said that three people were placed in custody in Hungary over the tragedy - one of them believed to be the owner of the truck and two others who were driving.

One is a Bulgarian citizen of Lebanese origin believed to be the owner of the vehicle.

The others, a Bulgarian and another man with Hungarian documents, are "pretty certain to be those who drove the vehicle," Doskozil said.

TRTWorld and agencies