Truck Driver Arrested After 39 Bodies Found In Shipping Container
The bodies of 39 people, including one believed to be a teenager, have been found in the back of a truck in Essex.
A 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, identified as Mo Robinson, has been arrested after the grisly discovery at an industrial park in Essex, United Kingdom.
He has not been charged.
Police were called to the scene by ambulance services after the lorry container was found at about 1.40am on Wednesday.
All 39 people were pronounced dead at the scene. Early investigations indicate there are 38 adults and one teenager, according to police.
Essex Police said it is believed the truck had arrived from Bulgaria and entered the country in Holyhead, Wales, on Saturday.
Bulgaria's foreign ministry said it could not confirm at this stage whether the truck had started its journey from the country.
"We are still checking the information, published in the British media and we're contacting the authorities," foreign ministry spokeswoman Tsvetana Krasteva said.
Police officers in forensic suits were on Wednesday inspecting a large white container on a red truck next to warehouses at the site.
Police had sealed off the surrounding area of the industrial estate with large green barriers as they carried out their investigation.
"This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives," Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said.
"We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue."
Police are working to identify the victims.
"At this stage, we have not identified where the victims are from or their identities and we anticipate this could be a lengthy process," Essex Police Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills told reporters.
"This is an absolute tragedy."
Mills said finding out who the victims were was their top priority, while a key line of inquiry was determining the truck's route from Bulgaria to Ireland and then on to Britain.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "appalled by this tragic accident".
"I am receiving regular updates and the Home Office will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened," he said on Twitter.
"My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives and their loved ones."
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was "shocked and saddened by this utterly tragic incident".
"Essex Police has arrested an individual and we must give them the space to conduct their investigations," she said on Twitter.
With AAP. Video: Reuters.