02/11/2019 6:37 PM AEDT

UK Truck Deaths: 39 Migrants Found Dead Believed To Be Vietnamese Nationals, Say Police

Police said they have identified families for some of the victims.

PA Wire/PA Images
The container lorry where 39 people were found dead in Essex 

The 39 migrants found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex are believed to be Vietnamese nationals, according to Essex Police. 

In a statement, the force’s assistant chief constable Tim Smith said: “At this time, we believe the victims are Vietnamese nationals, and we are in contact with the Vietnamese government.

“We are in direct contact with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK, and we believe we have identified families for some of the victims whose journey ended in tragedy on our shores.” 

However, the identity of the victims will not yet be released to the public, he said.

It comes after the bodies of 31 men and eight women were discovered in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex on October 23.

It was originally thought that the victims were Chinese nationals. 

Smith said that officers would continue to work closely with the Vietnamese government to identify the victims and offer support to those affected. 

“From the outset, our thoughts have been and remain with those who have lost loved ones in this tragic incident,” he added. 

The Vietnamese Embassy in London said it sent its “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims.

“The embassy was deeply saddened at the initial findings by the Essex Police that among the victims who lost their lives in the lorry on 23rd October 2019 in Essex, UK, may be Vietnamese nationals,” the embassy said in a statement.

“The Embassy of Vietnam in London will closely co-ordinate with the relevant authorities of Vietnam and UK to support the families of the Vietnamese victims, if any, to bring their loved ones home.”