Mass prayers for Vietnamese feared dead in UK truck tragedy
The 31 men and eight women were initially believed to be Chinese, but several Vietnamese families have now come forward with fears their relatives are among the dead.
The grim case has cast light on the extreme dangers facing illegal migrants seeking better lives in Europe.
The driver of the refrigerated trailer discovered in an industrial park on Wednesday has been charged with manslaughter and people trafficking.
Many of the suspected victims are believed to have come from impoverished villages in central Vietnam, a feeder of illegal migrants chasing promises of riches overseas.
Worshippers gathered Sunday in a remote town in central Nghe An province to pray for the missing, kneeling before a priest who delivered an emotional sermon.
“We gather here to pray for all the 39 victims,” priest Nguyen Duc Vinh said before a packed cathedral.
“We don’t know yet whether they were our children,” he added as visitors sang hymns.
Parents in the area have set up makeshift altars for their missing loved ones, many who have not been heard from since the truck was discovered Wednesday in Essex, southeast England.
Police have charged the 25-year-old driver of the truck, Maurice Robinson, with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.
The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland, who also faces charges of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering, will appear in court on Monday.
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