Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Asylum-seekers plucked from ocean - The Australian

A boat believed to be carrying more than 100 asylum seekers has capsized north of Christmas Island.

ONE hundred and six people have been rescued from a sinking asylum-seeker boat north of Christmas Island.

Two people are reported to have minor injuries and a search and rescue operation is continuing. Authorities did not say whether everyone was accounted for.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received a request for help this morning from a person on the boat, which was then believed to be carrying about 105 people.A Customs and Border Protection Dash 8 surveillance aircraft found the boat foundering at 12.20pm (AEST).

"The vessel was upright, but partially submerged. A number of people were sighted in the water," Customs and Border Protection and AMSA said in a joint statement.

HMAS Parramatta arrived shortly afterwards and began plucking people from the water.

By 3.30pm, HMAS Parramatta had recovered 106 people from the water.

A merchant vessel is helping the Royal Australian Navy vessel with the operation.

HMAS Pirie is en route to assist and is expected to arrive in the area shortly.



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