Driver sought after two migrants found dead in a van in Austria

The bodies were discovered when troops stopped and searched the vehicle

A driver is on the run after Austrian troops found the bodies of two migrants in a van crammed with people.

About 30 migrants were jammed into the vehicle as the suspect drove across the border from Hungary, police said.

Drones, helicopters and dogs searched the area around Siegendorf, a village 50km south of Vienna, for the driver.

All of the survivors were men, most of them from Syria, the Austrian APA news agency reported.

The bodies, believed to be men aged 25 to 30 and in poor physical condition, were discovered when Austrian troops stopped and searched the vehicle.

The incident recalled a similar tragedy in August 2015 when 71 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan suffocated in the back of an air-tight van where they had been hidden by people smugglers.

The bodies, including those of three children and a baby, were discovered in Austria but they died while still on the other side of the border.

Almost four years later, the Hungarian courts sentenced their smugglers to life imprisonment.

The emotion aroused by that tragedy triggered a brief opening of the borders to hundreds of thousands of people wishing to reach Western Europe at the beginning of the 2015-2016 migratory wave.

Hans Peter Doskozil, governor of Burgenland region, said the parallel with the 2015 deaths was “frightening".

Tuesday's incident showed “the brutality and inhumanity of organised human smuggling”, he said.

The Hungary-Austria border is along the route for migrants trying to reach Germany, France and the UK.

In the UK in 2019, 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in the back of a lorry parked near London.

Ten teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys, were among the victims.

Updated: October 20th 2021, 7:52 AM
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