One man has died and dozens have been taken to hospital after 35 people were discovered hiding inside a shipping container at Tilbury Docks in Essex on Saturday.

The group, presumed to be illegal immigrants, were found when workers heard “screaming and banging” from inside a container as the ship was being unloaded at 6.37am, said Supt Trevor Roe of Essex Police.

Inside they discovered “adults and children of both genders” who were all suffering from the effects of confinement. Seven ambulances were immediately called to the scene. In addition, Basildon and Thurrock Hospital dispatched two rapid response cars, a patient transport services vehicle and a “hazardous area response team”.

One man was pronounced dead on the scene and all of the remaining 34 people, including some children, were taken to three different hospitals for emergency treatment. An East of England Ambulance spokesman said they were suffering from “severe dehydration and hypothermia”.

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