The Austrian authorities found on Tuesday two lifeless migrants crammed together with another large group of people, most of them Syrians, inside a van that had crossed into Austria from Hungary.
The Austrian border guard has stopped the driver who immediately fled on foot, leaving about thirty people trapped inside the vehicle. The whereabouts of this person is unknown, who according to the police could be armed with a knife and a pistol.
The event took place in the border region of Burgenland, in eastern Austria. The victims are Kurdish and Syrian migrants, who despite the conditions in which they have been found have hardly needed medical attention, reports the Austrian newspaper ‘Kronen Zeitung’.
“We have been able to prevent something worse,” said Gerald Tatzgern, the head of the anti-human trafficking office of the Austrian Criminal Police. The assistance, he says, arrived in time to avoid a major catastrophe, although they could not do anything for the two fatalities, who died from suffocation.
“My thoughts are with the victims and their families. This terrible act clearly shows that the death of one or more people is accepted by human traffickers. Smuggling is one of the most inhumane forms of organized crime,” said the minister. of Interior, Karl Nehammer.
Since the measures against the coronavirus were relaxed, the Austrian authorities have registered a greater number of attempts to irregularly enter the country through this border with Hungary. “This year alone, the police have arrested more than 250 human traffickers,” Nehammer reported.
The case has brought to mind the tragedy that occurred on August 26, 2015, in the midst of the refugee crisis, in this same region of Burgenland. A total of 71 people, from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, were found dead inside a vehicle when they also crossed from Hungary. Eleven people were charged, four of whom are serving life sentences for murder.