Glen Verdu of the Ieper Local Police Service told VRT News that “We called the emergency number as we were afraid that would get enough oxygen to survive. By then the lorry was traveling on the A19 motorway at Zonnebeke”.
A least one of the transit migrants is a minor. The Fire Service came to the scene and initially it was believed that there was someone still missing in the load. However, this proved not to be the case. The transit migrants were taken to the police station on the opposite side of the road from the haulage yard, where they were identified. All of them are Afghan nations, the youngest of just 12 years old. The others also claim to be minors, although this remains to be verified.
The transport company Sitra that owns the lorry and trailer in which the migrants were found told the VRT that “These people were in need. They started to make noise inside the trailer. With Brexit imminent they are constantly being pushed by people smugglers to make the crossing to the UK with all the risks that this entails. This is clearly the work of an organised gang and it is happening more and more often”, Sitra’s Jelle Verplanken said.