After Frantically Calling Reporter, 6 Women Rescued From Truck

The migrants say they got on thinking it was headed to UK, but it was not
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
After Frantically Calling Reporter, 6 Women Rescued From Truck
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / z1b)

Six female migrants trapped inside a refrigerated food truck were rescued by French police after one of the women made a distress call to a reporter, the BBC and French authorities said Thursday. The women—four Vietnamese and two Iraqis—hid for hours in a truck loaded with boxes of bananas in northern France, believing the vehicle was on its way to the UK or Ireland, the AP reports. When they realized that the truck was going the opposite way, they started to panic in the cold and cramped, dark space. One of them managed to reach a BBC reporter in London, who then helped the women alert French police Wednesday.

French prosecutor Laetitia Francart said the truck driver, who was in fact heading for Italy, was not at fault. The women told investigators that the driver wasn't involved, "saying that they climbed abord the truck thinking they were going to England because of the Irish registration plates," Francart said in a statement. "After several hours on the road without a stop, they realized their mistake and alerted a journalist," she added. The broadcaster reported that the woman was able to send text messages, the truck's GPS location and short videos showing the conditions inside the truck. The women were shown sitting in a tight space on the floor, surrounded by boxes of fruit, panicking and struggling to breathe, according to the BBC.

The truck was just 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit inside, said Francart, Villefranche-sur-Saône's prosecutor. The women were all wearing thick coats and had no health problems, she said. French police soon tracked them down and managed to intercept the truck on a highway, the broadcaster said. Francart said the driver also called police after hearing noise coming from his trailer. The six women were detained for being in France illegally before being released. Four were given 30 days to leave the country. The other two were permitted to stay so they can request asylum.

(More migrants stories.)

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