XANTHI, Greece – Police in Xanthi on Monday found 41 irregular migrants hidden inside a refrigerated truck driven by a Georgian national, which they stopped for inspection at the Iasmos toll plaza on the Egnatia Highway. The driver was placed under arrest on suspicion of migrant trafficking and an operation launched to extricate the 41 foreign nationals packed inside – so tightly that many of them had insufficient air and could not breathe.
The individuals stacked inside the truck – all men – have mostly identified themselves as Afghan nationals and are aged between 20 and 30 years old on average. The conditions of their transfer were so bad – with insufficient ventilation and air in the truck compartment where they were travelling – that police estimate that some may not have survived the journey to Thessaloniki where they were headed.
After they were removed from the truck, eight men suffering from respiratory problems were taken to Xanthi General Hospital by ambulance to be given first aid. All are now reported to be well and out of danger.