15 Found Alive in Truck in U.K. as Authorities Identify 39 Migrants Found Dead Weeks Earlier

Rachael Bunyan

Fifteen people were recovered alive in the back of a truck in the U.K. by police on Wednesday—as police said they’ve identified the 39 people found dead in another truck weeks earlier.

Police and emergency responders were called to the scene in Wiltshire, 90 miles west of London, where they found 15 people—all believed to be males aged between 16 and 30 years old—in the back of the truck.

The men and teens were arrested on suspicion of entering the U.K. illegally, according to Wiltshire police. One man was taken to the hospital, but he was released and also arrested. Their identities and nationalities have not been released.

The driver of the vehicle, a man from Ireland in his 50s, was arrested by police on suspicion of assisting illegal entry into the country and remains in custody.

Officers had been called by a member of the public shortly before 8:30 p.m., the police said in a statement.

The road, near Chippenham, where the truck was found was closed for around four hours as police investigated.

Police officers drive away a truck in which 39 dead bodies were discovered on Oct. 23, in the U.K. The victims are believed to be Vietnamese nationals. | Ben Stansall—AFP/Getty Images

The discovery comes after 39 bodies — 31 men and eight women — were discovered on Oct. 23 in a truck parked on an industrial estate in the U.K. The victims are believed to be Vietnamese nationals according to Essex police.

All of the Essex victims were formally identified on Thursday, and the families of those victims have been notified, Essex police said in a statement.

Leading the investigation in Wiltshire, Duty Superintendent Steve Cox said: “I fully understand that recent tragic events elsewhere in the country will mean there will be increased interest and heightened concern regarding this incident.”

While authorities have not yet offered any details regarding where the 15 migrants were traveling from, there have been several cases of migrants being smuggled across borders in recent years, with many losing their lives. In 2017, emergency services found dozens of undocumented migrants in distress in a semi-trailer in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas. Nine people died.

In 2018, a Hungarian court convicted a group of smugglers for their roles in the trafficking and deaths of 71 migrants whose bodies were found in a truck abandoned next to a highway in Austria in 2015.