The Latest: Truck with 39 dead came to England from Belgium

Police officers attend the scene after a truck, seen in rear, was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England, early Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. Police in southeastern England said that 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside the truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the death of 39 people in a truck container in southeastern England (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

U.K. police are revising their theories about a truck found in southeast England with 39 bodies inside, saying it traveled from Belgium to England, not from Ireland as they thought earlier.

Essex police said Wednesday that their earlier statement that the truck went from Ireland to Wales was incorrect. They now say it went from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet in England via a ferry.

The 39 people were found dead early Wednesday at an industrial park in southeast England. Details about the victims have not been released except that one was a teenager.

The 25-year-old driver of the truck, who was from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

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3:45 p.m.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry says the tractor-trailer truck found in southeast England with 39 dead people inside it has a Bulgarian registration.

The Swedish-made Scania truck is registered in Bulgaria’s Black Sea port city of Varna to a company owned by a woman from Ireland, the ministry said.

The bodies were found overnight Wednesday in the town of Gray’s, east of London. The deaths are suspected to be a tragic case of human trafficking from the way the bodies were jammed into the truck.

Authorities believe the truck left Ireland, coming to Britain on a ferry Saturday that sailed into the Welsh port of Holyhead. The truck was then driven across the country before being found in an industrial park.

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3 p.m.

German Angela Merkel has expressed her condolences over the deaths of dozens of people found inside a tractor-trailer in Essex, east of London.

Her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that the chancellor was “deeply shaken by the news from Britain of the fate of 39 people who were crammed together inside a truck and died an agonizing death.”

Seibert said while the circumstances of the deaths are still being investigated “our resolve must be directed against those who organize and carry out such transports.”

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Steve Alter, said Germany would provide all necessary support it can to British investigators.

Germany lies on transit routes between Britain and Bulgaria, where the truck at the center of the tragedy is believed to have been registered.

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12:55 p.m.

The Bulgarian embassy in London says it will work with the British authorities on the case involving 39 people found dead in a tractor-trailer in Essex, east of London.

The Foreign Ministry says, “at present, it has not yet been confirmed whether the truck has a Bulgarian registration.” It also says there is no information yet on the nationalities of the victims in the truck and that “British police have warned that the identification of the bodies will take a long time.”

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12:10 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the death of 39 people whose bodies were found in the back of a truck is an “unimaginable tragedy and truly heartbreaking.”

Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons that he is receiving regular updates on the case.

Britain’s interior minister, Priti Patel, is due to update lawmakers on the tragedy later.

Police say the bodies of 38 adults and a teenager were found early Wednesday in a truck in Gray’s, east of London. The vehicle had traveled from Bulgaria to the U.K. by way of Ireland.

Detectives say they have not yet identified the victims.

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11:45 a.m.

Essex police say they have not yet identified the 39 victims found dead in a truck container or established where they came from.

Deputy police chief Pippa Mills said identifying the victims “could be a lengthy process” and that a key line of inquiry will be how the truck entered Ireland. The truck is said to have entered Britain via the Welsh port of Holyhead on Saturday from Ireland.

“It is an absolute tragedy and a very sad day,” Mills said.

Mills did not detail how many of the deceased were men or women, but confirmed that one of those who died appeared to be a teenager.

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9:50 a.m.

Police in southeastern England say 39 people were found dead in a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria.

A 25-year-old-man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said Wednesday that authorities are in the process of trying to identify the 38 adults and one teenager.

Mariner says the truck entered the country on Saturday, Oct. 19 and that police were “working closely with our partners to investigate.”

A cordon has been put in place around Waterglade Industrial Park in Thurrock, which remains closed.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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