ASUNCION (Reuters) – The badly decomposed bodies of seven people who may have been stowaways were found on Friday inside a shipment of fertilizer that left Serbia three months ago, Paraguayan authorities said.
The container left Serbia on July 21 and arrived earlier this week via Argentina at a river port on the outskirts of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, prosecutor Marcelo Saldivar said.
The bodies were discovered on Friday when the managers of the company that bought the product opened it, he added.
Saldivar said the victims, who were all adults, appeared to have been stowaways. Two had identity documents indicating they were Moroccan, and a receipt for a Serbian taxi company was also found, suggesting they entered the container in Serbia.
“We assume that they arrived there from their country of origin and had planned to travel to a nearer destination but they did not calculate the distance well and did not survive the trip,” he told Reuters.
“The supplies they had – cookies, bottled water and tinned food – were enough to last 72 hours.”
Police also found bags of clothing and an opening for ventilation in the area of the container where the bodies were found. “All the bodies are decomposed. They are just hair and bones,” he added.
The shipment’s route would be checked, he said, along with cell phones found with the bodies, and the authorities in Morocco and Serbia would be contacted to try to determine the victims` identities.
(Reporting by Daniela Desantis, writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Alistair Bell and Sonya Hepinstall)