Christmas Island-bound asylum seeker boat sinks off Java, three dead

24 July 2013

The ABC understands at least three people have died after an asylum seeker boat bound for Christmas Island sank off the south-west coast of the Indonesian island of Java last night.

The boat, thought to be carrying as many as 200 people, left a fishing village yesterday morning but only got a few kilometres out to sea after hitting heavy easterly winds.

A girl, woman and man have died.

More than 160 survivors have already been rescued by local fishermen and police.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has confirmed that a rescue operation is underway.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency says it has sent crews to the area to look for survivors.

Separately, HMAS Bathurst has intercepted another boat carrying asylum seekers west of Christmas Island.

The vessel is carrying 38 passengers and two crew.


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