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Arrests made over Austria migrant lorry tragedy

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters
Arrests made over Austria migrant lorry tragedy

<p>Austria says the lorry found abandoned near the Hungarian border on Thursday contained the bodies of 71 people. They are thought to have been refugees from Syria.</p> <p>The vast majority, 59 in total, were men. There were also eight women and four children including a baby girl.</p> <p>The authorities believe they suffocated.</p> <p>A number of people have been detained in Hungary, according to police from both countries. </p> <p>Austrian officials gave more details at a news conference on Friday morning.</p> <p>“We think that one perpetrator is a Bulgarian citizen, originally from Lebanon. He is the owner of the vehicle. Of the two other perpetrators, there is another Bulgarian citizen and one person with a Hungarian identity card,” said Hans Peter Dokozil, police chief for the Burgenland region.</p> <p>Hungarian police said in a statement on their website that four people had been arrested in relation to the tragedy: three Bulgarians and one Afghan.</p> <p>The vehicle with a Hungarian licence plate was found by a motorway patrol on the A4, one of the main routes to Vienna. It had previously been spotted near Budapest.</p> <p>The refrigerated air-tight truck bore the logo of a Slovakian poultry company, Hyza, which reportedly says the lorry had been sold.</p> <p>It’s thought those inside had been dead for up to two days; the bodies were badly decomposed.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Deaths of 70 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/migrants?src=hash">#migrants</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/refugees?src=hash">#refugees</a> in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Austria?src=hash">#Austria</a> is a "shameful act" condemned by the International Org for Migration <a href="http://t.co/9Y0Pp34g4p">pic.twitter.com/9Y0Pp34g4p</a></p>— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNGeneva/status/637194238044848128">August 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Separately, police in Hungary said on Friday that 10 Syrians were injured overnight when their van overturned on a motorway heading for Budapest. They are thought to have been among a group of at least 18.</p> <p>Thursday’s grisly discovery coincided with <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2015/08/28/migrants-vienna-summit-given-added-impetus/">a key summit on migration in Vienna</a>, where Angela Merkel began talks with six Balkan nations and senior EU officials.</p> <p>The German Chancellor said the number of refugees in Europe had reached the highest level since the Second World War.</p> <p>The lorry tragedy focuses attention on Austria’s southeast and Hungary, which <a href="http://www.euronews.com/tag/migrants-the-long-journey/">many migrants and refugees pass through</a> as they try to get to Vienna or on to Germany. It has also brought <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/27/the-guardian-view-on-the-eu-and-migration-lets-stop-the-balkans-being-part-of-the-problem">calls for the Balkans to be given more attention</a> as part of an EU-wide solution to the migration crisis.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Austria?src=hash">#Austria</a> now estimates 70 suffocated bodies found in back of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hungary?src=hash">#Hungary</a> abandoned truck. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EU?src=hash">#EU</a> words of shock won't save lives, action will.</p>— Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) <a href="https://twitter.com/bouckap/status/637158729864056832">August 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Deaths?src=hash">#Deaths</a> by suffocation in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Austria?src=hash">#Austria</a>: don't just look 4 lorry driver. Look at the nat. & EU pols that create the need 4 smugglers</p>— IrishRefugeeCouncil (@IrishRefugeeCo) <a href="https://twitter.com/IrishRefugeeCo/status/637164843322208256">August 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>