12 migrants found alive in refrigerated truck in Belgium

Twelve migrants have been found alive in a refrigerated truck in northern Belgium. The men, who were originally from Syria and Sudan, were discovered by police in a motorway parking area outside Antwerp. Officers went to the scene after being alerted by the driver of the vehicle, which was transporting fruit and vegetables.

The group has now been taken to an immigration office in the city. It comes exactly a week after 39 migrants were found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex. Some of the victims were believed to be Vietnamese.

Police launched an investigation after the bodies of eight women and 31 men were discovered in a refrigerated trailer at the Waterglade Retail Park in Grays in the early hours of last Wednesday. Belgian officials said the trailer came from Zeebrugge last Tuesday and was picked up by a lorry cab in Purfleet, Essex at about 12.30am the following day.

More from Essex Lorry Deaths

Image: Ronan Hughes (left) and Christopher Hughes (right) are wanted by police

Two brothers are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter[1] over the 39 deaths.

Ronan Hughes, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh in Northern Ireland, are also wanted on suspicion of human trafficking, Essex Police said. The older brother also goes by the name Rowan, and both have links to the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland.

12 migrants found alive in refrigerated truck in BelgiumImage: A lorry cab was seized at Dublin Port on Saturday which police believe may have delivered the trailer with 39 people on board to Zeebrugge

Essex Police are now investigating whether a lorry cab seized at Dublin Port by Irish police was the lorry that delivered the refrigerated trailer to Zeebrugge port last Tuesday with the 39 people on board. They confirmed a man was arrested by Irish police over an unconnected matter and he "is a person of interest" in their investigation into the deaths.

12 migrants found alive in refrigerated truck in BelgiumImage: Maurice Robinson has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter over the Essex lorry deaths

On Monday, another man, lorry driver Maurice "Mo" Robinson, 25, of Craigavon, Northern Ireland, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court charged with 39 counts of manslaughter[2], conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.

He is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 25 November.


  1. ^ Two brothers are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ charged with 39 counts of manslaughter (news.sky.com)

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