Sixteen bodies arrived at Nội Bài International Airport on a Vietnam Airlines flight from London to Hà Nội, where they were received by officials of their hometowns. Each victim was then transported on an ambulance back to their homes where family members were preparing for their funerals.
The first victims to arrive in Việt Nam on Wednesday came from three central provinces of Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh and Quảng Bình. The ambulances carrying the victims were expected to reach their hometowns later on the same day.
The other 23 bodies will be repatriated in the coming days in separate groups, though officials are yet to confirm the dates publicly.
The alledged illegal migrants were confirmed as Vietnamese nationals on November 8, among whom 21 came from Nghệ An. Another 10 were from Hà Tĩnh, 3 each from Hải Phòng and Quảng Bình while Thừa Thiên-Huế and Hải Dương each had one victim.
The Vietnamese Government will pay in advance to help bring the victims home. Their families will later return the money to the local municipalities, said the deputy foreign affairs minister Bùi Thanh Sơn.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also today sent his condolences to the bereaved families and asked that the police and concerned agencies cooperate with UK authorities in the investigation and handling of the offenders in this case. — VNS