First bodies of UK truck victims arrive in Vietnam

By Ba Do, Ngoc Thanh, Duc Hung, Nguyen Hai, Hoang Tao   November 27, 2019 | 06:52 am GMT+7
First bodies of UK truck victims arrive in Vietnam
A body of one of the Vietnamese victims in the U.K. truck disaster is carried to an ambulance car at Noi Bai Airport, Hanoi, to be transported to their hometown in central Vietnam, November 27, 2019. Photo by Vietnam News Agency.

16 of 39 Vietnamese citizens killed in the U.K. truck tragedy last month were repatriated on Wednesday morning.

The flight carrying their bodies touched down at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi at 5 a.m. Each body was then transfered to an ambulance car to be transported to their hometown.

The 16 victims are from the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh, seven to 10 hours drive from Hanoi. Other victims will be sent back to Vietnam in later trips, and the specific timeline has yet to be announced.

Earlier this month, authorities released the identities of all 39 Vietnamese killed in the truck disaster. The youngest victim was 15 years old and the oldest was 44.

Most of the victims, 21, are from Nghe An, 10 from its neighbor Ha Tinh, and the rest from Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue Province also in central Vietnam, and Hai Duong Province and Hai Phong City in the north.

Ambulance cars transporting bodies of Vietnamese victims in the U.K. truck disaster to their hometown in central Vietnam, November 27, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.

Ambulance cars transporting bodies of Vietnamese victims in the U.K. truck disaster to their hometown in central Vietnam, November 27, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.

A delegation from the central province of Nghe An arrived in Hanoi Tuesday to complete procedures for receiving the bodies.

"Transportation, medical services and the police are all ready to ensure security and safety for the process of bringing the bodies home," a source close to the matter said.

In Ha Tinh Province, Bui Huy Cuong, deputy chairman of Can Loc District, said the district has arranged eight ambulance cars for carrying the bodies. "Local authorities will escort the bodies home. To ensure security, we’re not allowing their beloved ones to join the delegation," Cuong said.

Tran Quang Vu, Chairman of Bo Trach District in Quang Binh, said families in Quang Binh, which lost three victims in the truck tragedy, have been informed to receive their bodies within Wednesday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed condolences to the victims' families once again on Wednesday morning. He repeated orders that the police and other authorities coordinate with the U.K. authorities to punish the people responsible.

The Vietnamese government has decided to make advance payments to make sure the victims are brought home as soon as possible. It costs $1,771 to receive the victim's ashes and $2,855 for the bodies to be brought back in coffins, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

So far, British police have arrested seven people for their involvement in the truck disaster.

Among the suspects is the truck driver Maurice Robinson, 25, of Northern Ireland. In a trial Monday, he pleaded guilty to assisting illegal immigration, but did not admit to 39 counts of manslaughter he has been charged with.

The defendant has been remanded to custody until a further hearing on December 13.

In Vietnam, police have arrested 11 people in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces for suspected involvement in human trafficking.

 
 
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