Rescue launched after boat 'carrying 200 asylum seekers' capsizes
Thursday 21 June 2012
A boat carrying about 200 people capsized south of Indonesia and scores were feared drowned today in an apparent attempt to reach Australia to seek asylum. Indonesian and Australian navies launched efforts to rescue survivors.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. cited the Australian Maritime Safety Authority as reporting that an Australian navy ship and a cargo ship had
rescued 73 survivors. The authority's spokeswoman could not be immediately contacted for comment.
"We're doing all we can to get as many vessels and aircraft to the scene to assist as possible," AMSA spokesman Jonathan Wills told ABC.
The boat capsized about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of the Australian territory of Christmas Island — and about the same distance south of Indonesia — with "up to 200 people" on board, the Australian Customs Service said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear where the passengers were from.
Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, is closer to Indonesia than the Australian mainland. It is a popular target for a growing number of asylum seekers, many from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, who attempt to reach Australia on overcrowded fishing boats from Indonesia — sometimes with deadly consequences.
"There's about 40 on the hull and the rest are in the water," Western Australia state Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said earlier. "Some of the very early reports suggest that up to 75 people may have drowned, but I do stress that they're unconfirmed at this stage."
O'Callaghan said bodies had been seen in the water. "We can't confirm that they've died, but it's likely," he said.
Western Australian police were being sent to Christmas Island to attempt to identify bodies, he said.
Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency, said two Indonesian warships have been dispatched to scene. He said Indonesia has sent notice to all cargo ships passing near the area to help, but he was not sure whether any had reached the disaster scene.
Prakoso said the boat was reportedly carrying 206 people, but added that he could not yet say their country of origin or from where they departed.
Australian aircraft and navy ships were helping with the rescue, the Customs statement said. They include a defense aircraft equipped with life rafts, a Customs surveillance aircraft and two navy patrol boats.
In December 2010, an estimated 48 people died when an asylum seeker boat broke up against Christmas Island's rocky coast.
Last December, about 200 asylum seekers were feared drowned after their overcrowded ship sank off Indonesia's main island of Java.
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Number of global billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis
- 3 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 4 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
- 5 North Korean officials 'publicly executed for watching South Korean soap operas'
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Number of global billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis
Elizabeth Norment dead: House of Cards actress honoured by Kevin Spacey after she dies aged 61
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
Nigel Farage and Frankie Boyle clash over Andrew Lawrence's 'Mock the Week' criticism
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...
£70 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Learning Support Assistants n...