The flight carrying the remains – bodies and ashes – touched down at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi early morning. After completing inspection and certification procedures, the remains of each victim were transferred to an ambulance car and taken to their hometowns.
The 23 victims are from Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Thua Thien Hue provinces in central Vietnam, and Hai Duong Province and Hai Phong City in northern Vietnam.
Nguyen Tho Hanh, brother of one of the victims, Nguyen Tho Xuan from Nghe An, said his family was informed that Xuan’s remains would be brought home on Saturday.
“We have prepared funeral and burial procedures. We feel painful but at least my brother is home,” Hanh said.
Officials inspect boxes of ashes of the U.K. truck victims at Noi Bai airport, Hanoi, November 30, 2019. Photo by Vietnam News Agency.
The remains of the first 16 victims were repatriated Wednesday morning.
The 39 victims were found dead in the back of a refrigerated truck in Essex, northeast of London, on October 23. They were identified earlier this month. The youngest victim was 15 and the oldest 44.
The process of identity verification, protection of citizens and return of corpses and ashes back to the country were done in a humane spirit in accordance with international law, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Vietnamese government had decided to make advance payments to make sure the victims are brought home as soon as possible. The costs were estimated at $1,771 to receive the victim’s ashes and $2,855 for the bodies to be brought back in coffins, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Following up on the tragedy, British police have so far arrested seven people for their involvement in the truck tragedy.
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 for suspected involvement in human trafficking.
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