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Boat carrying asylum seekers capsizes off Christmas Island

12-15-2010 16:01 BJT

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41 people have been rescued, while more than 30 others remain missing, after heavy waves smashed their timber boat onto the rocks of Australia's Christmas Island.

Dozens of asylum seekers are feared dead, with the bodies of several babies and women already seen floating in the stormy sea, while three injured victims have been transported to a nearby hospital.

Australian Federal Police say no official casualty count is available yet. They add that a more detailed statement will be provided soon.

Local media reports say the boat was carrying between 70 and 80 asylum seekers, including a number of women and children, mainly from Iran and Iraq.

Australia is a prime destination for people from poor, often war-ravaged countries like Afghanistan, who want to start new lives.



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