The Vietnamese government says it fears Vietnamese nationals could be among the 39 people discovered dead in a refrigerator truck in the UK’s Essex Wednesday.
Authorities say they were contacted by a father who reported his missing daughter, who left on a trip to the UK via China and France on 3 October, CNN report says.
According to Hanoi’s Human Rights Space representative, Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent text messages to her mother; in what is believed to be her last, she reportedly said that she cannot breathe.
"I'm sorry Dad and Mom. The way I went overseas was not successful. Mom, I love Dad and you so much. I'm dying because I can't breathe. I'm from Nghen, Can Loc, Ha Tinh, Vietnam. Mom, I am so sorry, Mom,” the series of messages reads in Vietnamese.
The message was sent at 4:28 am Wednesday Vietnamese time, or 10:28 pm Tuesday UK time, when the truck was in transit to the UK port of Purfleet, CNN says citing maritime tables.
This is the screenshot of Tra My's last text and her photo, posted with permission from her family's contact. pic.twitter.com/8ErWHBPrbJ— Hoa Nghiem (@HoaNghiem3) October 25, 2019
The family said they have not heard from Pham since those messages, BBC reported Friday. Pham’s brother wrote in social media that the young woman went to the UK but was deported to France by UK police, and attempted reentry.
Tra My's photo, posted with permission from her family's contact pic.twitter.com/n3MvlvcFQn— Hoa Nghiem (@HoaNghiem3) October 25, 2019
Vietnam's embassy in London has reportedly been working with British authorities after receiving requests from “some Vietnamese families” who were concerned that family members were among those found in the truck. However, Essex police have denied comments on the victims’ nationality.
"The force will not be commenting on any speculation about the nationalities of those who have tragically lost their lives," an Essex deputy chief constable said. "I strongly urge journalists and people on social media not to speculate about the identities of those involved or the circumstances surrounding this investigation.”
On Wednesday, a refrigerator truck with 39 dead bodies inside was discovered in UK’s Essex. A Northern Irish truck driver was arrested Wednesday, and three more people were arrested Friday on suspicions of human trafficking and manslaughter, CNN report says. The investigation continues, and police say it is likely to take a long time.