Survivors Speak: Bahram Khan|
by Marg Hutton
12 September 2003
The story of Bahram Khan continues our series of compilations from media articles regarding the SIEVX survivors. Bahram Khan is 'Person 13' in Keysar Trad's transcript of survivor interviews. Khan is an Afghan and his videotaped interview at Bogor was unable to be translated by Trad who notes that Bahram is the sole survivor from a family of eight. It is not known in which country Khan was resettled.
- 'Asylum seekers' boat sinks in 10 minutes, killing 350', AAP, 23 October 2001
|Bahram Khan, from Jalalabad in Afghanistan, said he had lost four brothers in the disaster.
'The hull sprang a hole. The mechanic could not fix it and the boat sank,' Khan said, adding that he had spent 20 hours clinging to a
piece of wood before being picked up by Indonesian fishermen.
He said the refugees had paid $US4,000 ($A7,900) each for the journey.
- 'Refugees Describe Capsizing', Dianthus Saputra, Washington Post, 24 October 2001
The wooden fishing boat carrying Afghan refugee Bahrem Khan and about
420 other Muslim asylum seekers began taking on water just a day after
leaving a port on Indonesia's Sumatra island last week. Within 10
minutes, the overloaded vessel capsized, trapping as many as 200
people inside the hull.
Khan, 45, was lucky enough to make it into the open water. "We didn't
have anything" to hold onto, he said today, but he and three other men
found a small wooden plank bobbing in the waves and "spent the whole
night trying to balance" themselves on it. Khan was rescued; four of
his brothers, who were on the boat with him, are presumed drowned...
Khan left his home in Afghanistan two months ago after he was fired
from his government job by officials of the ruling Taliban militia on
grounds that he was not sufficiently loyal. Desperate to feed his wife
and six children, he and four of his brothers set out from Jalalabad,
near the Pakistani border, on a stealthy and meandering journey, with
dreams of landing a job in Australia.
They traveled by land to Pakistan. Then they flew to Thailand. Then
they drove to Malaysia and hopped a ferry to Indonesia...
Khan worried about the boat's condition, but boarded anyway. "I have
six kids to feed," he said today. "I really didn't have any other
choice than to take the risk."