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  1. ITV Report

'Another 30 minutes and we would have been dead', say cargo survivors

By Rags Martel: ITV London reporter

"Another 30 minutes and we would have all died", the haunting words of survivors found in a cargo container.

The footage shows people in distress as they are released from the container Credit: ITV News

ITV News has spoken to the translator police used after 35 Afghan Sikhs, including 13 children, were found in a boat in Tilbury Docks in Essex on Saturday.

Credit: ITV News

Kamaljit Singh Mataharu was told they had travelled for 18 hours in the container from Belgium. "It was pitch black, without any air. It soon became extremely uncomfortable", they said. They had been banging for hours before they were finally rescued.

Emergency service at the scene in Essex Credit: ITV News

One man died from dehydration. He was aged 40 and was travelling with his wife and two children. Somewhere across the Channel he lost his life with his family watching.

Mataharu said there were 15 families packed into the container. The metal shell had been purposely modified to accommodate people inside.

He said they were all from Kabul and had travelled to Europe in a lorry. The Sikhs were desperate to flee Afghanistan where they were being persecuted.

"We would rather die than stay in Kabul", they told the translator.

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