As It Happens

Migrants found suffocated inside truck on Austrian highway

They made it to Europe, only to suffocate in the back of a delivery truck. It was a disturbing scene on a highway in Austria, where dozens of people have been found dead.
Police walk near a truck that stands on the shoulder of the highway A4 near Parndorf south of Vienna, Austria. (The Associated Press)

Covering conflicts across the globe, Channel 4 News reporter Lindsey Hilsum says she's often had to smell the "stench of death."

But she tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann, "It's not something I thought I would ever smell in Austria."

This morning, that changed when she came across an abandoned food delivery truck sitting by the side of a highway east of Vienna. In the back, Austrian authorities found the decomposing remains of dozens of people thought to be migrants and refugees seeking a new life in Europe. 

"The Austrian police are saying that the driver fled and he may no longer be in Austria," Hilsum says. "They are also saying that the people may have died before they got into Austria."

The truck is believed to have come from Hungary -- a country seen as increasingly unfriendly to refugees and migrants. Hungary is currently building a fence along its border with Serbia in an effort to block them.

Austrian police say it will take days to examine the evidence and begin the process of identifying the remains.