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.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Purisima denies endorsing successor
    Purisima denies endorsing successor

    Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima denied reports that he has been urging President Aquino to appoint his protegé as the new police chief. “Contrary to news reports, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima is not in any position to recommend and has not in fact recommended anyone to the President for appointment as next chief of the PNP,” his lawyer Kristoffer James Purisima said yesterday. Sources said that Purisima may have resigned but he reportedly remains …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …

  • Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2
    Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2

    How well does this P3,999 offering from an underdog in the local mobile industry stack up against the competition? Let's find out. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options