Police were reconstructing the final journey of 39 people found dead Wednesday in a truck container in an industrial park in England, attempting to piece together one of Britain’s worst people smuggling tragedies.
A police motorcycle escort slowly led the Scania trailer-truck out of the park as darkness approached, taking it to a place where the bodies could be recovered. The driver of the trailer wore a full forensic suit and gloves as he guided the massive vehicle in the impromptu cortege past journalists.
It was not immediately clear where the victims came from or how they came to England. The truck was registered in Bulgaria to a company owned by an Irish citizen, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said. Its point of origin was not clear.
British police said they believe the container with the people inside went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police said they believe the tractor traveled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, where it took a ferry to Holyhead in Wales before picking up the container unit at the dockside in England.
The truck’s driver — a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland — was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged and his name has not been released.