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1 man dies after 35 people found in shipping container Officials face language barrier

LONDON, Aug 16, (Agencies): A man has died after 35 people, including several children, were found inside a shipping container being unloaded at a dock in eastern England on Saturday morning, police said. Two of the group, believed to be from the Indian sub-continent, were taken to hospital in serious but not life-threatening condition, while others were treated for dehydration and hypothermia. The container was being unloaded at Tilbury docks in Essex from a ferry that had arrived from Zeebrugge, Belgium. Essex police said that for the time being they were treating the incident as a homicide investigation. “As a result of the ferry docking, staff at the port became aware of screaming and banging coming from the container,” Superintendent Trevor Roe told reporters. An East of England Ambulance spokesman added: “It was a very difficult scene for our first crews there.” Port staff were busy searching other containers from the ferry in case there were more people inside. No further details were immediately available of how long the group had been inside the container or where they had entered it.

Tilbury, on the River Thames, is primarily a bulk cargo and container port and not such a prime target for illegal immigrants as those on the south coast, such as Dover.

Immigration and health authorities were helping the investigation, police said. Of 50 containers aboard the P and O ship that arrived early Saturday, police have opened 30 so far to check for any other people. “Staff here at the port became aware of screaming and banging coming from a container,” police superintendent Trevor Roe told reporters. “As a result of that noise, staff were alerted and immediately breached the container to find 35 persons within that unit. “We believe them to come from the Indian subcontinent.” The dead man was pronounced deceased at the scene. “It is a homicide investigation from the police point of view,” Roe said, but added: “This is a humanitarian issue and the welfare of these patients is a priority.” Officials have faced a language barrier in their efforts to communicate with the survivors.

Roe said once the survivors are fit and well they will be formally interviewed through interpreters. He said the police investigation would look into “the gangs or whoever may be involved in this conspiracy to bring these people in this way over to this country. “Clearly we need to try to bring them to justice.” Paramedics and other emergency officials treated the stowaways for hypothermia and dehydration, but one man already had died. The survivors were transferred to three hospitals. Police say they have yet to identify the dead man but suspect that many of those hiding in the container are from India. Essex County Police Superintendent Trevor Rowe says detectives are liaising with Belgian police and treating the man’s death as homicide.

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