Nine suspected asylum seekers found dead off Christmas Island

8 June 2013

Customs and Border Protection officials say the bodies of nine suspected asylum seekers have been found in waters off Christmas Island.

The boat the people were travelling on capsized about 65 nautical miles north-west of the island.

It is understood 60 people were on board the vessel.

An RAAF plane spotted the submerged hull of the boat late yesterday and found bodies in the water this afternoon.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has been coordinating the search since Friday morning after an irregular boat was seen heading towards the island.

The search and rescue operation will continue throughout the night.

The HMAS Warramunga and two merchant ships are leading the search, alongside two border protection planes and one private aircraft.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare is travelling to Canberra tonight for a personal briefing on the operation.


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