Family Fears Missing Daughter Is Among Lorry Victims After Receiving Heartbreaking Texts

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Pham Thi Tra My Essex lorry deathsHuman Rights Space/PA

A family fears their Vietnamese daughter is among the 39 dead lorry victims found in Essex this week, after receiving a text reading: ‘I’m sorry Mom… I’m dying because I can’t breath.’ 

Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent a message to her mother saying she was dying on Tuesday night (October 22) – at the same time the lorry was travelling from Belgium to the UK.


According to a human rights group in contact with Tra My’s family, she had planned to attempt to travel to England, having gone to China to begin her journey for a better life.

Bodies found in lorry container in EssexPA

The BBC report that Tra My’s brother, Pham Ngoc Tuan, says she had paid £30,000 to people smugglers and her last-known location had been in Belgium.

In a series of increasingly desperate texts, Tra My told her mother ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’.


The translation of the text messages read: 

I’m sorry Mom. My path to abroad doesn’t succeed. Mom, I love you so much! I’m dying bcoz I can’t breath… I’m from Nghen, Can Loc, Ha Tinh, Vietnam… I am sorry, Mom.

The text had been sent at 4.28 on Wednesday (October 23) in Vietnam -this would have been 22.28pm the previous night in the UK, when the trailer was in transit between Zebrugge and Purfleet.

Bodies found in lorry container in EssexCameron Frew

An Essex Police spokeswoman told The Independent they received no information whether the 26-year-old was among the victims – the police previously said all 31 men and eight women found dead on the lorry were believed to be Chinese nationals.

Hoa Nghiem of Human Rights Space in Hanoi put a picture of Tray My out on social media, concerned that ‘the last dying text from her was coincidentally in time’.

As reported by The Telegraph, Nghiem said:


My’s family has asked for help. The person told me there were six other people asking for similar assistance to find out whereabouts of their relatives or family member since they also lost contact since October 23. We don’t know if that would make six cases as we are verifying names. And we don’t know if they are in that Essex truck. We hope they are not.

According to Telegraph sources close to the investigation, a number of the victims are thought to be Vietnamese.

Bodies found in lorry container in Essex campaignersCameron Frew

Following the news, the Vietnamese Embassy in London confirmed it had contacted the police regarding a missing woman. A spokesman said: ‘We have contacted Essex Police and we are waiting for an answer.’


Police arrested a 38-year-old couple from Warrington, Cheshire, on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking on Friday (October 25).

The driver of the lorry, 25-year-old Mo Robinson from Northern Ireland, remains in custody on suspicion of murder.

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Topics: News, Essex


The Independent and 2 others
Cameron Frew
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