A migrant who survived a terrifying 55-day journey from Syria to the UK said he was at the mercy of smugglers when locked inside a freezer lorry.
Ahmad al-Rashid has relived the ordeal after the discovery of the bodies of 29 Chinese migrants in the back of a lorry in Essex .
The Syrian refugee, who said he made the drastic journey to escape airstrikes, took a video of his journey, which was used in BBC Two documentary ‘Exodus: Our Journey to Europe’.
He said: "I was put in the back of a freezer with other people, with frozen chicken and meat.
"It was freezing cold in there… people started coughing and you know, started freezing."
He added: "This is where you have to be at the mercy of the smugglers because it is all locked from the outside."
Arsenal fan Ahmad retold the story on BBC Breakfast today and said he was one of several people — including a child of around seven years old — locked in the back of a freezer lorry by smugglers in Calais, who insisted they’d be in London “in two hours”.
But after two hours the lorry hadn’t moved an inch.
“It was a moment of shock, of horror, then we started to knock and knock and knock,” Ahmad said.
Eventually, Ahmad said their frantic banging on the walls altered the driver who seemed "shocked" to see them and called the police.
He claimed when French police caught them, they took the Afghan refugees away but told him "ok go, try again", because of the bleak situation in Syria.
Ahmad described Calais as "one of the most horrendous places I've ever been too, lots of criminal activity, human smugglers, traffickers."
Reflecting on the ordeal last night, he tweeted: “To recap: my journey was a horrendous one but it had a safe and happy ending.
“I'm extremely lucky because I'm alive and work my family and little angels.
“My heart goes out to those who lost their lives en route.”
His story comes as 39 people died in the back of a refrigerated lorry that had been driven to Essex.
It is reported the victims were all Chinese nationals who froze to death in the soundproof truck.
Alp Mehmet, chairman of MigrationWatch UK, has previously hit out at traffickers who help migrants travel into the UK, often in very dangerous ways.
Discussing the Essex lorry tragedy, he said: "This is horrific news of a sad and needless loss of life. People-trafficking is a sickening business.
"It continues not only because the traffickers make huge amounts of money from it but are also often able to get away with it.
"The risk is that more such tragedies will occur for so long as the UK fails to properly resource the border and return those who have no right to be here, which all but encourages traffickers to ply their trade by exploiting people who put their lives in their evil hands."
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