Bulgarian police on Friday discovered an abandoned truck containing the bodies of 18 migrants, all reportedly from Afghanistan, who appeared to have suffocated to death.
Police in Bulgaria 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 on 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.
Bulgaria is located on a major route for migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan and although Bulgaria has erected a barbed-wire fence along its 259-kilometer border with Turkey, many migrants still manage to enter the country with the help of local human traffickers.