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35 found in ship container were from Afghanistan, British police say

British police say 35 people trapped in shipping container were from Afghanistan. One is dead
Four of 35 people found in shipping container near London remain hospitalized

Thirty-five people found trapped inside a shipping container near a London-area port are from Afghanistan, British police said Sunday.

Among those found in the container Saturday was a man who was pronounced dead at the scene at the Port of Tilbury on the Thames River. Of the survivors, four remained hospitalized Sunday.

Once police finish questioning the survivors, they will be turned over to border authorities, police said.

"The welfare and health of the people is our priority at this stage. Now they are well enough, our officers and colleagues from the Border Force will be speaking to them via interpreters so we can piece together what happened and how they came to be in the container," Essex Police Superintendent Trevor Roe said in a statement Sunday.

Based on early interviews with those trapped, police believe they are members of the Sikh faith, Roe said.

He added that police have had "a good deal of help from partners within the local Sikh community in the Tilbury area" to help the people with clothes and religious support.

Among those trapped were 13 children 12 years old or younger, according to police. The man who died was believed to be in his 40s.

Roe told the BBC that dockworkers found the trapped group after hearing "screaming and banging" from inside the container. The container had arrived from Belgium, according to the BBC.

All of the containers on board the ship were searched and no other people were found, according to police.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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