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18 bodies found in abandoned truck in Bulgaria

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SOFIA, Bulgaria — Police in Bulgaria on Friday discovered an abandoned truck containing the bodies of 18 migrants, who appeared to have suffocated to death.

The Interior Ministry said that according to initial information, the truck was carrying about 40 migrants and the survivors were taken to nearby hospitals for emergency treatment.

Bulgarian Health Minister Assen Medzhidiev said most of the survivors were in very bad condition.

“They have suffered from lack of oxygen, their clothes are wet, they are freezing, and obviously haven’t eaten for days,” Medzhidiev said.

The truck was found abandoned along a highway near the capital, Sofia. The driver was not there, but police discovered the passengers in a secret compartment below a load of timber.

Authorities did not immediately give the nationalities of the migrants. Bulgarian media reported they all were from Afghanistan.

In October 2019, British police found the bodies of 39 people inside a refrigerated container that had been hauled to England. Police said all the victims, who ranged in age from 15 to 44, came from impoverished villages in Vietnam and were believed to have paid smugglers to take them on a risky journey to better lives abroad.

Police said they died of a combination of a lack of oxygen and overheating in an enclosed space. The truck discovered in the town of Grays, east of London, had arrived in England on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Follow AP’s coverage of global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.