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How many of the 1500 asylum seeker lives lost at sea since 2001 could have been saved?
Zahra (6), Fatima (7) and Eman (9) - the daughters of Sondos Ismail and Ahmed Alzalimi -  three of the 146 children who lost their lives when the vessel that has become known as SIEVX foundered in international waters en route to Christmas Island on 19 October 2001.
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Survivors Speak: Abu Muslim

by Marg Hutton
8 July 2003

This is the sixth in our series of lightly edited extracts from Keysar Trad's transcript of survivors interviews that were videotaped in Bogor in the week following the sinking of SIEVX. Abu Muslim is 'Person 18' in the transcript. According to Silvana Luca-Kadhem, Abu Muslim has been resettled in New Zealand.

SIEVX survivor Abu Muslim A man by the name of Abu Yasin began calling out to me - 'Abu Muslim, my wife, my children, Muhammad and Houda they drowned, they died.' I would say - 'They died, we are next.'

I saw a child I thought was asleep on the water but I found him to be dead.

I also saw Mohammad, the son of Dr. Kamal (Al-Battat). The boat broke up and Mohammad called out to me - 'Abu Muslim, Abu Muslim help me.' Several people were calling out to me and I was confused as to who to go to. I said 'How can I help you?' He did not have a lifejacket - none of those who called out had one.

Since the incident we have been living the tragedy daily. I saw a couple crying, each asking the other for forgiveness - the wife saying that this cannot be true, it must be a nightmare.

There were those crying for water, others asking for forgiveness before they died.

We cannot sleep because of the tragedy. The tragedy is beyond our ability.

There were waves between 3 and 4 metres high, a mixture of fuel and saltwater. Anyone who takes in this water and is able to vomit is okay. however, the ones who could not vomit die by suffocation immediately. It was a battle against the sea and the rain.

While most people stopped talking by morning, many did not lose hope in God and continued to pray to God for salvation.

We saw many different tragedies - the floating dead bodies, those crying for their brothers, fathers, wives, children, etc. It was unimaginable. I cannot continue, excuse me.

SIEVX survivors at Bogor
SIEVX survivors at Bogor ( 8588) | ©Copyright Marg Hutton ~ / 2002-2014