According to the BBC, the individuals inside the shipping container were “suffering from severe dehydration and hypothermia.” Essex Police say they’re treating the investigation as a homicide.
“Staff here at the port became aware of screaming and banging,” Superintendent Trevor Roe said, noting that the 35 adults and children are believed to be from the Indian subcontinent.
Multiple reports suggest the people were discovered somewhere between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. after a ship carrying 50 shipping containers arrived from Belgium.
According to the Daily Mirror, individuals from the container were taken to three local hospitals. Officials reportedly sent “seven ambulances, two rapid response cars, a patient transport services vehicle, two duty operational managers, two basics doctors and [a] hazardous area response team.”
As officials continue to investigate the incident, they say they’re running into difficulties due to language barriers.
The Guardian quotes Superintendent Roe as saying, “some of the difficulties around some of the questions are because we can’t speak to them and engage.”
With the ongoing concern surrounding the devastating outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, some news outlets have wondered about the possibility of an Ebola risk despite officials suggesting those found in the container are likely from India.
ITV reports that England’s public health agency is not aware of any risk, and “would have been informed ‘very quickly'” if there was a concern.
The Independent quotes a spokesperson from England’s public health agency who said: “If it was Ebola, health care professionals are so alert at the moment to signs and symptoms that should there have been anyone who was showing symptoms we would have been notified immediately.”