JAKARTA, (Xinhua): Three drowned and 157 were saved as an asylum-seeker boat sank off Indonesia’s southern Java Island Tuesday night, Indonesian rescue official said Wednesday. “The boat carrying unknown number of illegal immigrants sank off west Java’s Cianjur Regency at around 20:00 p.m. Tuesday night,”Rochmali, a spokesman at Search and Rescue Agency of Bandung, West Java’s capital told Xinhua Wednesday.
Rochmali said the Bandung rescue team has saved 157 immigrants until Wednesday morning while three bodies were found, added that two children aging 1 and 5, respectively were among the dead. “We are still searching around the waters where the capsizal occurred as the asylum seekers are not cooperative and don’t want to inform us the exact number on board,” Rochmali said.
Rochmali said the wooden boat was on the way to Australia’s Christmas Island to seek asylum before capsizal and the Indonesian authorities are identifying the asylum seekers’ origin country.
Australian newly reinstated Prime Minister Kevin Rudd discussed the issue of asylum seekers with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his first foreign trip at the beginning of this month. The two countries have conducted a series of cooperation to tackle the human trafficking and asylum seeker saving issues in recently years.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with 17,000 islands, is a favorite transit point for fleeing migrants from Middle East and Asia seeking asylum in Australia.
Editor: Tang Danlu