• Austria's news in English

Families pay for truck dead to be flown home

The Local · 29 Oct 2015, 09:15

Published: 29 Oct 2015 09:15 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

One Syrian man had to pay €6,000 to have the bodies of his two sons returned, according to a report in the Kurier newspaper. The coffins of 34-year-old Hussein and 21-year-old Raman were flown from Austria to Syria via Iraq.

Their father, Mustafa Khalil, was quoted by the Syrian Observer paper as saying that he believes Serbia, Hungary and Austria hold some responsibility for his sons’ deaths.

They left their hometown of Qamishli in 2013, fleeing Islamic State jihadists, and made their way to Serbia. Their father said he last spoke to them on the telephone on August 25th, 2015. They told him that they had each paid an Iraqi people smuggler €1,600 to take them to Austria via Hungary.

The badly decomposing bodies of 59 men, eight women and four children were found on August 27th inside an abandoned refrigerator truck on Austria's A4 motorway, close to the Hungarian border.

When Mustafa Khalil heard the news he sent pictures of his sons to the Austrian authorities, and gave details of the clothing that they had last been wearing. He waited for ten days before the authorities could confirm that his sons were among the dead. He then paid to have their bodies flown back to Syria, where he buried them in Qamishli.

Burgenland police spokesman Gerald Pangl told the Kurier that the family of one Iraqi victim paid €5,000 to have their relative's body flown home.

So far, 54 bodies have been identified and the majority have been flown back to their homes for burial. Their death certificates were issued by the town of Nickelsdorf in Burgenland. Nickelsdorf mayor Gerhard Zapfl told the Kurier that the costs of sending a body back to Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan is between €3,000 and €4,000.

Family members who feared their relatives were among the dead sent samples of their blood to Austrian authorities to enable DNA identification of the corpses. 17 identified bodies are expected to be buried in Parndorf, where the truck was found.

So far, six suspects have been detained in connection with the case, which sparked international revulsion and highlighted the plight of migrants and refugees putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers to reach Europe.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Austrian police rescue 47 puppies from animal smuggler
Photo: Landespolizeidirektion Burgenland

Austrian police have seized 47 puppies found in a car at the Hungarian border.

Call for FPÖ chief's Facebook page to be shut
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The Austrian lawyer who filed a criminal case against the leader of the Freedom Party for inciting hatred has called for his Facebook page to be shut down.

Female terror suspect 'planned suicide attack'
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police have arrested the wife of a Chechen terror suspect after they found evidence that the pair were planning a suicide attack in Austria.

'Death must be Viennese', and not just at Halloween
Prater amusement features memento mori. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Dominik Creazzi, "Paranormal Investigator" embossed on his jacket, strains his ears among the decaying tombstones of Vienna's central cemetery, the last resting place of three million mortals from Beethoven to "Rock Me Amadeus" singer Falco.

ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available