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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: Bahram Khan

by Marg Hutton
12 September 2003

SIEVX survivor Bahram Khan

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.

Other sources:

  • '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." ( 7658) | ©Copyright Marg Hutton ~ / 2002-2014