Spy plane missed doomed boat: report
Saturday 29 June 2002, 9:11 AM
An Australian spy plane flew over the area where there were asylum seekers clinging to debris from their sinking ship but apparently never saw them, according to a newspaper report.
The Australian newspaper said the P3 Orion plane flew over the area last October but the navy denied it saw any survivors or was even aware the boat had sunk.
In evidence to be presented to the senate committee next week, the navy will disclose details of its surveillance of the waters off Indonesia where the Siev X sank on October 19, last year, the report said.
The report said the government hoped the evidence would debunk claims the navy turned a blind eye to the plight of the overloaded boat after it left for Christmas Island.
The newspaper said the evidence presented to the committee will show - contrary to earlier senate testimony - that the navy sent P3 patrols across the stretch of ocean where the Siev X sank.
It also confirms the controversial admission by the navy that it did not step up its routine daily surveillance to search for the ship and its human cargo, the article said.