The bodies of at least 20 migrants, some of them decomposing, were found today (Aug. 27) in an abandoned truck in Austria, on a highway near the Hungarian border.
The death toll could be as high as 50, Austrian police say. Road workers discovered the truck on the hard shoulder of the road and notified the police. A manhunt for the driver is underway. The truck photographed at the scene bore the logo of the Slovak meat producer Hyza.
The country’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner said at a press conference that it was a “dark day,” and called for tough policies for human trafficking.
It is likely that the migrants suffocated in the back of the vehicle. One driver arrested in Austria on Aug. 25 had a van packed with 34 people, who said they could hardly breathe during the journey.
The grim discovery comes while European and Balkan leaders meet in Vienna for a conference on security in the region, focusing on the migration crisis. Last month a record 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders, tens of thousands coming through the Balkan countries Serbia and Macedonia, aiming to reach Austria, Germany and other wealthy EU countries.