Thursday, December 16, 2010

Purely tragic and a needless loss of life!

This issue needs more world attention!

Onlookers watched helplessly yesterday as at least 28 asylum-seekers from Iran and Iraq were killed when their boat was dashed on to rocks off Christmas Island in a tragedy that raised questions as to why the vessel wasn't intercepted before the disaster.
Asylum seekers are pummelled in
the water as their boat sinks.

Witnesses, many of who were woken to screams for help and the smell of diesel, described how the boat floated without power just off the limestone cliffs near Flying Fish Cove for about an hour during yesterday's stormy weather, before a huge wage crashed it into the rocks and smashed into pieces.

The death toll has risen to 28 this morning, with the Federal Government conceding up to 100 asylum seekers might have been aboard the ill-fated vessel. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's office confirmed the new toll today.
Australian and Navy and Customs rescuers reach
out for the drowning asylum seekers
as they're tossed about in the treacherous
waters near Flying Fish Cove on
Christmas Island. Photo: Nine News

A few stunned men are able to cling
to the wreckage of the wooden boat.

Helpless asylum seekers watch
as their boat heads for the cliffs.

The dead include women and children, while 44 Iranian and Iraqi asylum seekers were rescued by the navy from the water. Of the survivors, 11 said they were younger than 18, Mr Bowen told Sky News this morning.

This is a tragedy of epic proportions and mirrors the desparation of tens of thousand asylum seekers making their way from the middle east to Australia through Asia and falling into the hands of notorious 'People Smugglers' who offer those desparate enough in internment camps a chance to reach Australia in leaky, unseaworthy boats at a premium price.

Please keep in mind that this is also 'Cyclone Season' in that area, a fact that hampers surveillance activity and certainly hinders rescue attempts.


Sharon said...

I would probably believe that they slipped away from shore under cover of darkness, but surely someone had seen them before they were so close to danger.

I am just so sad over this. It didn't have to happen.

JohnD said...

The Indonesian authorities turn a 'blind eye' to asylum seeker departures - they don't want them anyway and once at sea they are not their responsibility any more. Australia, the UN and the International red Cross have advisors inside the internment camps (nobody is really not 'interned') advisng asylum seekers not to make the highly risky sea journey and to wait for due processing.

John Gray said...

terrible, terrible, terrible

Gill - That British Woman said...

desperate people do desperate things.....very, very sad.

Gill in Canada