Asylum-seeker boat carrying 95 capsizes off Australia; 2 dead

Asylum-seeker boat carrying 95 capsizes off Australia; 2 dead

An asylum-seeker boat carrying at least 95 people today capsized off near Christmas island leaving two people dead and two critically injured.

Australian Customs vessel Ocean Protector went to the aid of the asylum-seeker boat and had taken survivors to Christmas Island, Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare was quoted as saying by the 'The Australian' newspaper.

"Initial reports indicate 95 people have been recovered from the water including two deceased persons and two critically injured persons," he said in a statement.
HMAS Maitland and aircraft remained in the area to continue the search effort.

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spokeswoman said the boat overturned 14 nautical miles north of Christmas Island at 11.20am (AEDT) today.

"It's a very fortunate coincidence that Customs were within the vicinity, and were able to respond very quickly," Christmas Island Administrator Jon Stanhope said.

"My understanding is that all of the asylum seekers were in the water when the Ocean Protector arrived," she said.

"The nationalities of those on board was not known," the paper said. PTI NC ZH 03251039