Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:04 am Post subject: Australia * Crash on Christmas (island) Kills Dozens
27 Perish in Crash on Christmas (island)
There is something prophetic or ominous about this. Were they terrorists?
December 15, 2010
27 asylum seekers died after vessel crashes near Christmas Island, Australia.
Rescuers have recovered 27 bodies from the wreckage of a boat that sank off Christmas Island this morning.
Customs and Border Protection have just confirmed the number after an all-day search and rescue operation which is still ongoing. A further 41 people have been rescued, while another man made it to shore by himself.
The boat carrying about 70 asylum seekers crashed into rocks near Flying Fish Cove about 6am local time (7am AWST).
Rescuers will continue the search for further bodies until last light tonight before reviewing what action will need to be taken tomorrow.
The bodies of the dead will be sent to Perth.
Men, women and children were on board the stricken vessel as the tragedy unfolded.
"Sadly some bodies have been retrieved," Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said, adding "The boat has crashed into the rocks. Naval boats are involved in the rescue."
Julia Gillard has announced she will break her holiday and return to work this evening to personally oversee the disaster. "This has been a tragic event, and it will be some time before there is a full picture of what has happened," she said. "The Government's focus and absolute priority now is on rescue, recovery and treatment of those injured."
Christmas Island residents have told of looking on helplessly as babies and children desperately clung to pieces of wreckage in the raging ocean near Flying Fish Cove.
The navy is trying to rescue survivors, but witnesses say they are facing an uphill struggle against appalling weather conditions, with debris from the crash spreading over a one-kilometre area.
Christmas Island councillor Kamar Ismail said the asylum seekers appeared to be mostly of Middle Eastern origin. A doctor who had been briefed by the Immigration Department confirmed most of the survivors were of Iraqi and Iranian nationality.
Mr Ismail said he could not understand why the boat was on that side of the island, when two other boats were intercepted on the calmer opposite side yesterday.
Australia says Christmas Island wreck killed up to 48
December 20, 2010
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says as many as 48 asylum seekers may have been killed when their boat sank last week off Christmas Island.
So far 30 bodies have been recovered after the boat hit rocks and broke apart in stormy seas on Wednesday.
Officials have been talking to the 42 survivors to try to determine how many more people may still be missing.
Ms Gillard said around 90 people were now thought to have been on the boat, but some bodies might not be recovered.
"We may never know the precise number, but the advice to me is that the best estimate at present is that there were around 90 people on the boat," she said.
"That does mean of course that we are still not able to account for around 18 people."
The passengers of the flimsy wooden boat are believed to have been Iranian, Iraqi and Kurdish asylum seekers making their way to Australia via Indonesia.
Christmas Island lies in the Indian Ocean about 2,600km (1,600 miles)
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