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Boat carrying 70 asylum seekers crashes into Australian cliffs

12-15-2010 11:29 BJT

CANBERRA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A boat carrying 70 asylum seekers crashed into cliffs at Christmas Island of Australia early Wednesday, The West Australian reported.

It is believed that there are 15 survivors and an unknown number of people are feared dead, said the report.

Christmas Island local Simon Foster told the newspaper's website thewest.com.au that the boat was upside down and debris was scattered across the water.

"There is so much stuff in the water you can't tell what is debris and what is people," Foster said.

Witness Phillip Stewart told Sky News that the boat struck the cliffs near Rocky Point around 7:00 a.m. Christmas Island time. " We did witness one person jumping off a piece of flotsam and swimming to a naval rescue but unfortunately what we witnessed was a major tragedy."

Stewart said the asylum seeker boat was completely destroyed in the stormy conditions. "There's absolutely nothing left of the boat," he said.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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