Germany: Seven dead after vehicle crashes in Bavaria

Source: BBC

Seven people have died after a crowded minivan driven by a suspected people-smuggler overturned, say German police.

More than 20 migrants, including some children, are thought to have been in the van.

The driver attempted to evade police at a road check before losing control near Ampfing in Bavaria, authorities say.

The accident happened amid a rise in people-smuggling which has led several Central and Eastern European countries to impose border checks.

Police say they tried to intercept the Mercedes Vito van at around 03:00 (01:00 GMT) on Friday.

The driver of the vehicle, which had an Austrian licence plate, accelerated before rolling over several times at a junction on the A94 motorway, between the Austrian border and Munich.

There have been a number of crashes involving people-smugglers in European countries in recent weeks.

A car with French licence plates thought to be smuggling migrants overturned in Hungary on Thursday, leaving two dead and six injured.

Last week, a vehicle crashed in the town of Burghausen, on the German-Austrian border, around 50km from the site of Friday’s accident, injuring four people.

Several EU countries, including Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic have re-imposed border checks in recent weeks as a result of an increase in smuggling incidents.

Polish authorities say the heightened checks have succeeded in reducing the number of migrant crossings.

The A94 motorway in south-eastern Germany is considered a regular route for people-smugglers crossing the border from Austria.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the tragic crash highlighted the need to strengthen border controls to stop smugglers from entering Germany.

First-time asylum requests in Germany rose by 78% in the first seven months of 2023. Police say the passage of around a quarter of migrants into Germany is facilitated by smugglers.

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