Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Erdogan to rid Turkish institutions of ‘separatist cancer’ after coup attempt

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of summer music festivals in France

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Going for gold: French athletes train for Rio Olympics

Read more

#TECH 24

Digital beauty

Read more

FOCUS

Women doctors in Pakistan challenge the status quo

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump hopes to reset America's trade relations

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump's speech was just another scam'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cazeneuve at the heart of Nice security controversy

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Africa: Prosecutors seek longer sentence for Oscar Pistorius

Read more

Asia-pacific

Asylum seeker boat capsizes off Australia's Christmas Island

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-07-16

A boat carrying some 150 asylum seekers capsized off Australia's Christmas Island on Tuesday but the majority of them were helped from the water by two navy ships, 70 nautical miles from the shore, rescuers said.

A boat carrying some 150 asylum-seekers capsized off Christmas Island Tuesday but the Australian navy saved most of them, rescuers said.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said two navy ships were at the scene 70 nautical miles off the island, which is northwest of the Australian mainland.

"There were around 150 people on board," an AMSA spokesman told AFP, after an earlier tweet from the authority said up to 180 were on the boat.

"When it capsized, two naval vessels were at the scene and were able to get the vast majority of them out of the water very quickly," he added.

The spokesman said he could not confirm whether anyone died and the cause of the sinking was not immediately known.

The boat had earlier made a distress call and was being escorted to Christmas Island by HMAS Albany when it tipped over in bad weather.

Reports said few of the people on board were wearing lifejackets at the time and a Royal Australian Air Force plane dropped life rafts to those in trouble.

"We'd been in contact with the vessel most of the day and the navy was travelling with it to Christmas Island," the spokesman said, adding that rough seas had prevented sailors from boarding the boat.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers have drowned on the dangerous sea voyage to Australia in recent years when their rickety and overloaded boats sank.

More than 13,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Australia by boat since January 1, piling pressure on the ruling Labor party in an election year.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-07-16

  • AUSTRALIA

    Dozens believed dead in Australian asylum shipwreck

    Read more

COMMENT(S)