Seven Vietnamese families have contacted a charity in Việt Nam via a friend, concerned their loved ones may have been on board a lorry discovered in the UK with dead bodies inside.
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 Việt Nam 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, 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 Việt Nam 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 Hà Nội told Việt Nam 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.”