Dozens feared dead in Australian asylum boat tragedy

The boat crashed into jagged rocks on Christmas Island about 6 am local time, according to media reports

Initial reports said 41 survivors were pulled from the wreckage and the fate of the rest 30 remained unknown, but the figures could not immediately be confirmed. The asylum seekers on board were mainly from Iran and Iraq, reports said.

The Australian Federal Police said that they were responding to a "maritime incident" involving a suspected illegal vessel on the island. The department declined to comment further.

Christmas Island resident Nick Tassone said he heard people on the boat screaming in terror this morning. "The refugee boat came past and there were heaps of people screaming," he said.

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