DODOMA, TANZANIA (BNO NEWS) — More than 40 Somali and Ethiopian migrants were found dead in the back of a truck in central Tanzania, local authorities said on Wednesday. Seventy others were rushed to a nearby hospital, where some remain in a critical condition.
The victims suffocated on Tuesday while in a truck which was traveling from Arusha in northern Tanzania to Mbeya in the country’s south. The driver of the vehicle, which was severely overcrowded as it was carrying a total of 113 people, stopped in the central village of Chitego after hearing screams.
When noticing many of the migrants had died, the driver opened the back of the container truck and released the survivors before dumping the bodies along the road. He then fled the scene and authorities were still trying to locate the driver on late Wednesday, with no success. The identity of the driver is unknown.
A district official confirmed 41 people were found dead at the scene, all whom apparently died from asphyxiation. The 72 survivors were helped by villagers and were soon rushed to an area hospital, where two of the victims later died, raising the death toll to 43. Some of the other victims remain in a critical condition, and the death toll could still rise.
It is believed all of the victims were from Somalia and Ethiopia, which has been hit by drought and ongoing conflict.