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At least 27 suspected asylum seekers reportedly die in boat crash

12-15-2010 19:10 BJT

CANBERRA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 27 suspected asylum seekers have died after their boat smashed against rocks on Christmas Island of Australia, according to the latest report from Australian authorities.

The Australian Associated Press reported the figure of deaths, meanwhile, there is still no official casualty number available from the Australian Federal Police after 15-hour rescue operations.

Australian Customs and Border Protection has confirmed that as at 6 p.m. (AEDT) 41 people have been rescued from the water and another person made it to the shore.

The boat, reportedly carrying up to 70 asylum seekers including women and children, struck the cliffs of Christmas Island early on Wednesday.

Christmas Island dive shop operator Simon Prince told Sky News that he saw about eight people dead in the water.

"There were dead children in the water; there was one very small child with a life-jacket on, floating face down for a very long time, clearly dead," he said.

The Customs said in a statement ongoing investigations would be conducted by the Australian Federal Police and the Western Australia Police. They will continue to coordinate a search and rescue operation.

An information line has been set up for people who may have known someone on board the boat.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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