LONDON – The 39 people who were found dead in a truck in Essex, England were Chinese nationals, local media reported on Thursday.
British police said the bodies of 39 people were found in a truck in an industrial park in Thurrock, west England on Wednesday.
"We were called by colleagues from the ambulance service shortly before 1.40am (1240GMT) this morning Wednesday 23 October following the discovery of a lorry container with people inside at Waterglade Industrial Park, Eastern Avenue, Grays," a statement by Essex Police said.
"Emergency services arrived but sadly, 39 people were pronounced dead at the scene. Early indications suggest 38 are adults and one aged in their teens," it said.
Police said they have launched a murder investigation into the incident but revealed no information on nationalities of the 38 adults and the teenager who were found dead.
Local reports, including one from Sky News, said the victims were Chinese nationals.
A 25-year-old Northern Irish driver has been arrested for suspicion of murder shortly after the discovery.
The truck, which is registered in Bulgaria, is believed to have travelled from Belgium into the U.K. The arrested driver picked up the trailer in the early hours of Wednesday but an alarm was raised after he drove the truck into an industrial park.
In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a truck container in a similar incident in Dover, England. A Dutch truck driver was jailed for manslaughter in 2001. (Anadolu)