An abandoned truck with migrants aged between 13 and 35 probably from Afghanistan traveling to Serbia was found Friday near the village of Lokorsko, 12 miles (20km) north-east of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. The migrants who paid 5,000-7,000 euros each were transported in hidden compartments. „There has been a lack of oxygen to those who were locked in this truck. They were freezing, wet, they have not eaten for several days,” Health Minister Asen Medzhidiev declared. 18 people, including a child, were found dead from asphyxia. Thirty-four people, including five children, were rushed to hospitals, some in a critical condition. Six Bulgarians were arrested at different locations and indicted in connection with this case. One of them had already been previously sentenced for human trafficking. They face up to 15 years in prison. One of the suspects remains at large.
The head of the National Investigative Service, Borislav Sarafov, declared “this is the deadliest incident with migrants in Bulgaria.” Such cases have been reported in other countries too, in the past.Bulgaria is located on a major route for migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan who are seeking to enter Europe through Turkey. Bulgaria asked the EU for €2 billion ($2.1 billion) to strengthen the border fence and improve surveillance.