The bodies of 16 of the 39 Vietnamese who died when human traffickers carried them by truck to England last month were repatriated to their homeland on Wednesday and have been taken to their families.
The bodies arrived on a flight that landed in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, the news website VNExpress reported. The website published photos of ambulances that transported the bodies to their home provinces south of Hanoi.
The bodies were found Oct. 23 in the English town of Grays, east of London. Police say the victims were aged between 15 and 44.
The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid human traffickers for their clandestine transit into England. Several suspects have been arrested in the U.K. and Vietnam.
Hoang Lanh, father of 18-year-old victim Hoàng Van Tiep, said by phone Tuesday that he had been informed by a local government official that his son’s remains would be brought home Wednesday, along with those of six other victims from Dien Chau district in Nghe An province, including Tiep’s cousin Nguyen Van Hung.
“It’s bittersweet, I can’t believe I would have to welcome my son back like this,” Lanh said. “I’m devastated but I am happy to have him back with us soon.”
Hoàng Thi Nhiem, Tiep’s sister, said her family had received her brother’s body shortly before noon.
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