Many missing as 110 survive Australia boat capsize

Three people were confirmed dead and dozens more are missing as rescuers scoured the ocean Friday after 110 survivors were found from a boat that capsized off Australia's Christmas Island.

"We have 110 survivors and three confirmed dead so far," a spokeswoman from Australia's Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is working with Indonesia's search and rescue authority Basarnas, told AFP.

One of the survivors from the boat believed to be carrying 200 people was a 13-year-old boy. They have been taken by ship to Christmas Island in the remote Indian Ocean.

"The survivors have arrived at Christmas Island. They were rescued wearing life jackets and we are quite confident we will could recover more survivors," added the spokeswoman, who said the water temperature was warm.

The ship, en route from Sri Lanka, issued a distress call and capsized 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) from the Australian mainland on Thursday afternoon.

It was spotted by an Australian Customs and Border Protection surveillance plane.

The capsize is the latest in a series of refugee boat disasters in the Indian Ocean in recent years, as rickety, overloaded vessels packed with desperate migrants sink on their way to Australia.

Four merchant vessels, two Australian Defence Force ships and five aircraft are involved in the search and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said all those on the stricken boat were believed to be men.

"Initial indications suggest there were approximately 200 people on the vessel," he told reporters. "One survivor is reported to be a 13-year-old boy, the remainder are reported to be all adults.

"We're still in that critical window where more lives could be saved," he added. "People can survive out there for up to 36 hours if they have either lifejackets or they have debris to hold onto."

Clare said about 40 survivors were found clinging to the upturned hull of the boat on Thursday afternoon, while others were discovered holding onto debris up to three nautical miles from the scene.

There had been rumours of another vessel also in distress, but Clare said this was not true.

Though they come in relatively small numbers by global standards, asylum-seekers are a sensitive political issue in Australia, dominating 2010 elections due to a record 6,555 arrivals.

Direct asylum-seeker journeys from Sri Lanka have historically been rare but navy sources in Colombo have reported a marked increase in Australia-bound people-smuggling operations, with about 200 arrests in recent weeks.

Indonesia is a more common transit point for those trying to reach Christmas Island, which is closer to Java than mainland Australia, but many fail to reach their destination.

In December, a boat carrying around 250 mostly Afghan and Iranian asylum-seekers sank in Indonesian waters on its way to Christmas Island, with only 47 surviving.

Some 50 refugees were killed in a horror shipwreck on the island's cliffs in December 2010. Fifteen were children aged 10 years or younger, with one a baby just three months old.

The worst known refugee boat disaster off Australia in recent years was the sinking of the SIEV X in 2001, which killed 353 of the more than 400 asylum-seekers on board.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options