Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET
Three refugee children who were rescued from a minivan as they were being smuggled into Europe have reportedly disappeared from a hospital where they were being treated for dehydration.
Meanwhile, there were more arrests in a similar case in Austria last week in which 71 migrants were found dead in a truck.
The Syrian children, two girls and a boy aged 5 and 6, were part of a group of 26 migrants also from Afghanistan and Bangladesh who were pulled over by police near the town of St. Peter am Hart, near the German border. The refugees were crammed into the vehicle and described by medical officials as being near death.
Police said they van was intercepted after a chase with police and that its Romanian driver was arrested.
“The emergency doctor told us they would not have made it much longer — two, maybe three hours,” said David Furtner, police spokesman for Upper Austria province, according to Reuters.
But the BBC reports that the children and their families, who faced deportation, had disappeared from the hospital. Kerry Skyring, reporting for NPR, says the family left the hospital of their own accord, over the objection of the hospital.
Last week, 71 would-be migrants from war-torn North Africa and the Middle East were found dead after apparently suffocating in a truck that was abandoned along Austria’s A4 autobahn.
The Independent reports:
“A fifth suspect of Bulgarian citizenship was arrested today by Hungarian police in connection with the deaths.
“Austrian police have said that they believe the migrants suffocated after autopsies were performed on 16 of the bodies.
“Three Bulgarians and one Afghan citizen are currently under arrest pending an investigation in Hungary. They face up to 16 years in prison for trafficking in Hungary plays murder charges in Austria.”