Seven Vietnamese families have contacted a charity in Vietnam via a friend, concerned their loved ones may have been on board a lorry discovered in the UK with dead bodies inside.
An image of Pham Thi Tra My, tweeted by an NGO charity in Ha Noi on Friday.
On Wednesday, authorities in the United Kingdom discovered the corpses of 39 people inside the container of a heavy good vehicle.
The authorities in Essex, in the south of England say initial investigations show the people on board were from China.
But now Human Rights Space, an NGO in Vietnam said they had been contacted by a friend of a number of families in Hà Tĩnh Province, worried their relatives may be among the dead.
The co-founder of the charity tweeted on Friday a message from one 26-year-old woman sent to her mother saying she was onboard.
The families all told the same story that their relatives had travelled to China in the hope of being trafficked into the UK.
And they all claimed they had not heard from any of their families members since the grim discovery was made.
Co-founder of Human Rights Space, Nghiem Hoa took to Twitter saying a text message was sent from a 26-year-old woman called Pham Thi Tra My who was supposedly messaging from inside the lorry.
The message read: "I'm sorry Mom. My path to abroad doesn't succeed. Mom, I love you so much! I'm dying bcoz (sic) I can't breathe...I'm from Nghen Town, Can Loc, Ha Tinh, Vietnam... I am sorry, Mom".
Hoa said on social media: “The text was sent 4:30 Oct23rd. Pham Thi Tra My went to China and planned to go to England via France, a contact with her family told me. Her family is looking for help to identify their daughter among 39 found people.”
Speaking exclusively to Vietnam News, Hoa said: “I got the info from a person that My's family has asked for help.
“The person told me there were six other people asking for similar assistance to find out where about (sic) of their relatives or family members since they also lost contact since October 23.
“We don’t know if that would make six cases as we are verifying names.
“And we don’t know if they are in that Essex truck. We hope they are not. We know the news said all 39 people were Chinese. But these people went to China and would go to UK from there.”
Meanwhile, reports in the New York Times claim the younger brother of Tra My, Pham Manh Cuong told them his sister had traveled from Viet Nam to China in early October, before flying to France.
From there, Pham said, she attempted to travel to Britain but had been stopped by the police and returned to France. Her relatives said they believed she had then made a second attempt to travel to Britain.
Police in England have arrested three people, including the driver of the lorry, in connection with the murder of 39 people.
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Ha Noi told Vietnam News: “The nationality of the victims has not been confirmed at this stage. The UK authorities are working as fast as possible to identify the victims and inform their families.
“This is an appalling tragedy and our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of all those people who have sadly died. UK authorities will conduct a full and thorough investigation.”
Vietnamese agencies support families of potential lorry victims
Worried families who fear their loved ones were aboard the deadly Essex lorry can contact special hotlines to provide information to the authorities, the Việt Nam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.
The grim discovery of 39 dead bodies inside the truck was made on Wednesday in Essex, England. At first, police in the UK said the nationality of those killed was Chinese, but now a number of concerned families in Việt Nam fear their relatives may have been among the dead.
One 26-year-old from Hà Tĩnh Province, Phạm Thị Trà My, is reported to have sent a text message to her mother not long before she died.
Now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has told the Embassy of Việt Nam in the UK to work closely with the UK police to define the victims’ nationalities.
The embassy said it is working closely with British agencies to speed upthe investigation process.
The Consular Department under the ministry has been assigned as a contact to co-ordinate with relevant agencies and local authorities to provide information to assist in the victim identification process.
To receive assistance in relation to the case, people can contact the Embassy of Việt Nam in the UK via its hotline for assisting overseas Vietnamese at +44 7713 181501 or Việt Nam’s general citizen protection hotline at +84981 8484 84. VNS