UPDATE: Information is slowly forthcoming from the Essex police concerning their investigation. Understandably, this is a high profile case and they are wanting to proceed with caution as eyes from several nations are watching this unfold.
Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills stated, “This is an incredibly sensitive and high-profile investigation, and we are working swiftly to gather as full a picture as possible as to how these people lost their lives."
In the early hours of Thursday, they confirmed that the deceased were Chinese Nationals, 31 of whom were men, 8 women, including one that they had previously identified as a teenager.
According to reports, the trailer that they were traveling in was a refrigeration unit capable of reaching temperatures as low as -25 C/ 13 F. People are now speculating that the refrigeration unit may have accidental been turned on after chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Richard Burnett stated the conditions for anyone inside were "absolutely horrendous."
Police are asking reporters and those on social media to refrain from speculating about the Irish driver, stating that three properties in County Armagh have been searched in connection with the investigation. He remains in custody, and after securing a warrant for further detention, may remain in custody for up to an additional 24 hours while the investigation continues.
In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday October 23rd, emergency services were called to an industrial complex in Essex where 39 bodies had been found in a semi-trailer.
The bodies of 38 adults and one teenager were located in the back of the trailer. Authorities are working to determine their identities as reports state that it will likely be a daunting task due to the lack of any identifying paperwork located with them.
It was initially reported that the trailer had entered England from Bulgaria through the port of Holyhead in Northern Whales on October 19th, but authorities have since revised that finding.
Police have now determined that the trailer traveled from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Purefleet where it landed shortly after 12:30 am Wednesday morning. It was loaded onto the tractor driven by Robinson just after 1:00 am, and medical services were called before 1:40 am.
There has been no statement concerning how long those in the cargo trailer may have been dead for, whether they all died at the same time, or speculation into cause of death by investigators. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, presumed that the matter was a case of human trafficking where they had suffocated to death.
This is a developing story as there are more questions than answers available at this time. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
From the Essex Police press release:
We have set up a casualty bureau for people to call if they are concerned about relatives following the incident at Waterglade Industrial Park, Eastern Avenue, Grays, this morning, Wednesday 23 October.
The Casualty Bureau Numbers are 0800 056 0944 for callers living in the UK, or 0207 158 0010 for callers dialing from outside the UK.
Anyone who has any information about this incident can submit information to the UK Police Major Incident Public Reporting site