Three Syrian children and their families disappeared from an Austrian hospital, authorities announced Sunday. The refugees were being treated for severe dehydration after they were discovered Thursday along with more than two dozen other migrants, media reports said.
Their discovery came several days after 71 bodies, believed to be of Syrian migrants, were found in a car dumped on the side of a road in Austria.
Authorities said when the three children -- two girls and a boy, ages 1 to 5 -- were found, they and their families were in critical condition and unconscious. They were taken for emergency treatment, and disappeared overnight.
It is believed the refugees were hoping to make it into Germany -- a country of choice for many Syrians -- before being deported back to Hungary. It is not known whether they left the hospital on their own.
The news comes as Europe has experienced a growing refugee and migrant crisis in recent months. More than 107,000 migrants crossed into the European Union last month, as more than 4 million people have fled Syria, BBC reported. A number of European countries have called for urgent talks to be held on the situation, as some countries have sought to clamp down and stem the flow of migrants crossing their borders illegally.
Syrian refugees and migrants after crossing Greece continue through FYR of Macedonia their way Europe. pic.twitter.com/Ybp9h5TX4A
— Aris Messinis (@ArisMessinis) August 29, 2015
The journey to Europe is a lengthy and dangerous one for many Syrians. They often find smugglers in Turkey who are able to take them by boat to Greece, and then through eastern Europe until they reach Germany or other destinations, for a hefty fee.
Austrian experts are currently performing autopsies on migrants found dead in a van last week. They have speculated the migrants likely suffocated to death. Sixteen autopsies had been performed as of Sunday, but there were no conclusive answers yet as to the cause of death, a police spokeswoman said.
Many of the migrants entering Europe have fled instability and war in Syria.