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Boat survivors taken to Christmas Island – sbs

[MISC, Wednesday, 4 November 2009 10:26 No Comment]

Twenty-seven suspected asylum seekers rescued from a sinking boat near the Cocos Islands are being taken to Christmas Island, as hopes fade of finding 11 others missing at sea for two days.

Two children are believed to be among the 11 suspected asylum seekers missing for more than two days after their boat went down northwest of the Cocos Islands.

Hopes of finding them alive have all but faded with at least one person confirmed dead.

The federal government says the boat was believed to have been carrying 39 suspected asylum seekers when it sank, they are believed to be from Sri Lanka.

Twenty-seven survivors have since been taken aboard the commercial ship the LNG Pioneer and will be taken to Christmas Island to be processed.

Search to be reviewed

Meanwhile the search for 11 suspected asylum seekers missing for almost 48 hours will be reviewed, the federal government says.

At least one person is dead and another 11 are missing, including two boys, aged 13 and 14, feared drowned in the Indian Ocean when their boat sank 350 nautical miles from the Cocos Islands on Sunday.

Two bodies sighted in the water on Tuesday have yet to be recovered.

Hopes of finding alive any more of the group, claiming to be from Sri Lanka, have all but faded, with a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor confirming the search will be reviewed on Wednesday.

"The search is still under way and it will be reviewed mid-morning today," he told AAP.

An Australian Customs Service spokesman said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) would make the call on whether to keep searching for survivors.

"The search basically continues until AMSA makes a decision as to whether there is any chance of survivability of people," he said.

[Full Coverage]

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