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Three young children have been taken to hospital in critical condition after Austrian police stopped a truck containing 26 refugees, a day after 71 people were found dead in another vehicle.

"The three small children had to be hospitalised ... because of the extremely bad state of their health. Doctors said they were treated for severe dehydration," the police said in a statement about Friday's incident.

"If the journey had continued the situation could probably have become critical," a spokesman from police in Upper Austria state told AFP.

Arrests made after 71 dead refugees found in truck

The vehicle, pulled over by police after a chase, contained 26 people from Syria, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who said they wanted to go to Germany, the police statement said.

The incident happened near Braunau am Inn in western Austria close to the border with Germany. The driver, from Romania, who had refused to pull over for a routine check, was arrested.

On Thursday, an abandoned truck containing the bodies of 71 dead refugees including four children was found on a motorway in eastern Austria near the Hungarian border.

Autopsies are still being carried out but police think that the refugees, likely from Syria, suffocated from lack of air and had been dead for up to two days before the refrigerated truck was noticed by motorway maintenance workers.

Arrests ordered

On Saturday, a Hungarian court ordered the preliminary arrest of four men suspected of being involved in their deaths.

Ferenc Bicskei, president of the Kecskemet Court, said that the suspects would be held until they were indicted on September 29.

The three Bulgarian suspects aged 29, 30 and 50, and a 28-year-old man from Afghanistan have appealed the court decision, saying they had not committed any crimes.

Source: Agencies