Austria inspects trucks, creates 18-mile backup

BUDAPEST, Hungary—Austria stepped up vehicle inspections on Monday at its Hungarian border after 71 migrants apparently suffocated in a truck, creating a huge traffic jam on the main Budapest-Vienna highway.

In addition to the gridlock at the Hegyeshalom border crossing—about a 30-kilometer backup at its peak—traffic was slower than usual at other spots along the Hungary-Austria border, the traffic monitoring firm Utinform reported.

Traffic appeared to be flowing fairly smoothly by late afternoon and Austrian Interior Ministry Spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said they would continue to conduct “spot checks” of vehicles at all main border crossings.

At Budapest’s Keleti train terminal, meanwhile, hundreds of migrants, many saying they were from Syria, were boarding trains headed west to Austria and Germany, without apparent police intervention.

In past months, Hungarian police, sometimes acting with colleagues from Germany and Austria, often removed migrants without the necessary travel documents from the trains.

On Monday afternoon, there were long lines of migrants at the terminal’s ticket windows and police said a statement on the situation there would be forthcoming.

Two of the express trains that left Budapest, however, were stranded on the Austro-Hungarian border after the Austrian Federal Railways refused to allow them to proceed into Austria, citing “overcrowding.”

Austrian Police Spokesman Roman Hahslinger said some of those on the trains subsequently disembarked and continued into Austria with regional trains.

A train with around 400 migrants from Budapest arrived in Germany on Monday evening, first stopping in the southern Bavarian city of Rosenheim where some were offloaded, while others then carried on to Munich, the dpa news agency reported.

Border police said 190 of the migrants were taken in Rosenheim to a former military barracks to be registered. They included a family with five small children from Afghanistan who had fled three months ago, and others from Pakistan saying they had fled the Taliban.

Another 200 traveled on to Munich where police went through the process of registering them in a hall at the main train station. Passers-by spontaneously handed out water and candy to the new arrivals, dpa reported.

It was not immediately clear where these migrants would be taken, but typically refugees are put into temporary housing until they can apply for asylum, including in former military barracks, container villages that have been built, and even tents.















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