Women rescued from a refrigerated truck in France after calling a BBC journalist
Six women were rescued from a refrigerated truck in France, after one of them had the idea to send a message to BBC journalist Que Lu, after which the search for them immediately began.
The women, four of whom are Vietnamese nationals and two from Iraq, spent more than 10 hours in a cramped space surrounded by boxes of bananas, hoping to reach Britain or Ireland, reports The Guardian.
When they realized that the truck was going in the opposite direction, they started to panic. The temperature in the truck was very cold, which added to the feeling of fear. Looking for help, one of them managed to get in touch with a BBC journalist in London.
"It's so cold," the woman told reporter Que Lu via text messages. She said the truck door was closed with an iron bar and they were trapped inside.
The woman sent Lu two short videos showing the space packed with boxes, leaving only a few tens of centimeters of space for them to sit. In one video, a woman could be heard saying in English, "I can't breathe."
The woman sent her a GPS location, which allowed Lou to determine that the truck was on the E15 motorway near Drache, north of Lyon.
Lou sent messages to colleagues in France. One of them contacted the police station closest to the truck's location, sending all the information Lou had gathered. As they waited impatiently for the police to intervene, Lou continued to follow the vehicle.
Lou, fearing they wouldn't last much longer, tried to calm the women by telling them to avoid talking to save air and reminding them that the police were on their way.
She continued to communicate with the young woman, who said three other people were supposed to get into the truck with them, but they backed out. Instead, one of them took a photo clearly showing the truck's Irish registration number.
Soon after, the French police announced that they managed to intercept the truck. The driver was arrested and an investigation was launched on suspicion of people smuggling. A few hours later, the French prosecutor said that the vehicle was from Lithuania and that the driver was under investigation. Among the six women who were rescued from the truck was a minor, the prosecutor said.