12 adults and 7 children treated for dehydration after shocking early-morning discovery
London: A man has died and at least 19 people have been taken to hospital after 31 adults and children were found inside a shipping container at Tilbury Docks in Essex, police said on Saturday.
Twelve adults and 7 children are being assessed and treated for dehydration in hospital, while others have been treated by ambulance crews.
Essex Police has launched an investigation. A spokesperson said: “One man has sadly died and the others have significant health problems.”
The discovery was made at 7.35am on Saturday when the ship was being unloaded by Port of Tilbury authorities, after sailing from Zeebrugge in Belgium.
Basildon Hospital said on its Twitter feed that it is “responding to a major incident”, adding: “A&E is open, but please be aware that waiting times may be extended.” It is understood the conditions of the people taken to hospital are not life-threatening.
A police spokesman said: “Essex Police have launched an investigation following the discovery of a container of people at Tilbury Docks. The container, on a ship believed to be from Zeebrugge, was being unloaded this morning.
“Essex Police received a call at 7.35am from the Port of Tilbury authorities. Thirty one people, including adults and children of both genders, were found inside. One man has sadly died and the others have significant health problems. They are being treated by ambulance crews and are being taken to local hospitals.
“Essex Police is working in partnership with the Port of Tilbury, UK Border Force and the East of England Ambulance Service. A casualty bureau is in the process of being set up.”
Police said that details of the casualties and people inside the container are still being clarified.
East of England Ambulance Service said: “We sent seven ambulances, two rapid response cars, a patient transport services vehicle, two duty operational managers, two Basics doctors and our hazardous area response team (Hart), a number of which are still on scene.
“Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of any injuries, and ensure that those people in most need are treated first and taken to hospital. At present, we have taken two patients to Basildon and Thurrock Hospital and are still on scene treating and triaging others.”
A spokesman for Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, said it was “currently on standby to receive cases”.