Seven people have tragically died in Bavaria, Germany, after a minivan driven by a suspected people-smuggler overturned, according to German police. The incident occurred near Ampfing in Bavaria, where the driver attempted to evade police at a road check before losing control. More than 20 migrants, including children, were believed to be in the van at the time of the accident.
The driver of the Mercedes Vito van, which had an Austrian license plate, accelerated and rolled over several times at a junction on the A94 motorway, between the Austrian border and Munich. This incident comes amidst a rise in people-smuggling activities, leading several Central and Eastern European countries to impose border checks.
In recent weeks, there have been multiple crashes involving people-smugglers in European countries. On Thursday, a car with French license plates, suspected of smuggling migrants, overturned in Hungary, resulting in two deaths and six injuries. Additionally, a vehicle crashed in Burghausen, Germany, injuring four people. These incidents have prompted several EU countries, including Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, to re-impose border checks to combat the increase in smuggling incidents.
The A94 motorway in south-eastern Germany is known as a regular route for people-smugglers crossing the border from Austria. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann emphasized the need to strengthen border controls to prevent smugglers from entering Germany. Police estimate that around a quarter of migrants entering Germany rely on smugglers for their passage.
It is important to note that first-time asylum requests in Germany have risen by 78% in the first seven months of 2023. The involvement of smugglers in facilitating the entry of migrants into Germany remains a significant concern for authorities.