No Sri Lankans among rescued, four dead - Mallawarachchi
June 22, 2012 07:47 am
There were no Sri Lankans among 110 who were rescued from the capsized ship off Christmas Island, Australia, Sri Lankan Ambassador in Indonesia Maj. Gen. Nanda Mallawarachchi told Ada Derana a short while ago. He also added that four of those rescued had died following the accident.
Meanwhile a spokeswoman from Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) told AFP, “the survivors have arrived at Christmas Island. They were rescued wearing life jackets and we are quite confident we will could recover more survivors,” adding that the water temperature was warm.
The ship, thought to be en route from Sri Lanka, issued a distress call and capsized 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, some 1,600 miles from the Australian mainland on Thursday afternoon.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said all those on the stricken vessel were believed to be men.
“Initial indications suggest there were approximately 200 people on the vessel,” he told reporters. “One survivor is reported to be a 13-year-old boy, the remainder are reported to be all adults.
“We’re still in that critical window where more lives could be saved,” he added.
It is the latest in a series of refugee boat disasters in the Indian Ocean in recent years, as rickety, overloaded vessels packed with desperate migrants sink on their way to Australia.
Four merchant vessels, two Australian Defence Force ships and five aircraft are involved in the search.