Essex police had launched an investigation after 35 people were discovered in a shipping container in Tilbury Docks.
Essex police is investigating after 35 people were found in a shipping container in Tilbury Docks, UK.Reuters

A man has died after 35 adults and children were found in a shipping container in Tilbury Docks, Essex.

Around 19 people are being treated in hospital for serious health problems, after they were found in a shipping container on Saturday. The ship was being unloaded by Port of Tilbury authorities after it arrived from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Essex Police has launched an investigation and are liaising with staff from Port of Tilbury, UK Border Force and the East of England Ambulance Service.

"Thirty-one people, including adults and children of both genders, were found inside," a police spokesman said.

"One man has sadly died and the others have significant health problems. They are being treated by ambulance crews and are being taken to local hospitals."

The East of England Ambulance service confirmed that a hazardous area response team has been sent to Tilbury Docks.

The service said in a statement: "We sent seven ambulances, two rapid response cars, a patient transport services vehicle, two duty operational managers, two basics doctors and our hazardous area response team (Hart), a number of which are still on scene.

"Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of any injuries and ensure that those people in most need are treated first and taken to hospital. At present, we have taken two patients to Basildon and Thurrock Hospital and are still on scene treating and triaging others.

"We are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene, with our priority to ensure patients receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible."

A spokesman for Darent Valley Hospital added that it is currently on standby to receive further cases. A casualty bureau has been set up on the docks to treat others with less serious injuries.