Asylum seekers drown on way to Australia

Last updated 10:18 30/01/2013

Relevant offers

Australia

How 7-Eleven workers are being ripped off in Australia Girl, 8, loses right hand in dog attack Perth father in court after children set on fire Legendary trainer Bart Cummings dies aged 87 Three Perth children 'doused in petrol, set alight' in home Investigation exposes shocking exploitation of convenience store workers No ghosts here: Sydney hipster house creeps out UK media Violent brawl between teenage girls on Sydney train caught on video Bali police questioned over alleged buck's night bribe Man arrested over death of two-year-old Nikki Francis-Coslovich

At least two Sri Lankan asylum seekers have died and a third is missing after their boat smashed into rocks off the coast of Central Java as they made their way to Australia.

Twenty survivors, including a four-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, were taken last night to the island of Nusa Kambangan near the coastal town of Cilacap.

Another two survivors had been taken to a hospital in Cilacap for treatment.

The group is believed to have left Sri Lanka for Australia about two months ago, and was about to begin the final leg of their voyage to Christmas Island when the boat's engine broke down on Monday.

The vessel drifted for hours before it foundered on rocks at Nusa Kambangan.

The island, known as the Alcatraz of Indonesia, is home to maximum security prisons and was where some of the 2002 Bali bombers were incarcerated and later executed.

Local fisherman spotted the asylum seekers at about 7pm local time on Monday night.

The head of the Cilacap immigration office, Syamsul Bahri, said the vessel had originated from Sri Lanka and was transiting through Indonesian waters on the way to Christmas Island.

"They're saying that they're ... heading to Australia," he said.

He said the survivors would be moved to an immigration detention centre in Semarang.

Hundreds of asylum seekers perished last year attempting to make the crossing from Indonesian waters to Christmas Island.

Ad Feedback

- Sydney Morning Herald

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content