Navy rescues 12 from sinking boat off WA

Posted Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:13pm AEDT
Updated Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:15pm AEDT

The Royal Australian Navy has rescued 12 people from a sinking boat near Ashmore Reef off the West Australian coast.

The stationary boat was spotted by a Coast Watch plane late yesterday about 80 nautical miles south-east of the reef.

The Navy's HMAS Ararat was sent to investigate and found the boat was sinking fast because of a hole in the hull and its engine was damaged beyond repair.

The 10 people and two crew members on board are being taken to Christmas Island.

In a statement, Immigration Minister Chris Evans says those on board have not made their intentions clear, but people-smuggling of refugees is still a problem in the region.

It is the third boat to reach Australian waters this year.


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