15 bodies from the capsized boat carrying Sri Lankan asylum seekers recovered

Saturday, 27 July 2013 - 12:48


The death toll from an overcrowded asylum seeker boat carrying more than 200 people that sank off Indonesia's coast has climbed to 15 after four more bodies were recovered, a rescuer said Friday.

A rescue official from the local search and rescue agency Rochimali stated that the women's bodies were located late Thursday and early Friday near Ujung Genteng beach, about 50 kilometers west of where the overcrowded tugboat sank Tuesday off the coast of West Java.

The exact number of people missing remains unclear as there was no passenger manifest.

However the boat was believed to be carrying approximately 204 people, of which 189 survived.

A majority of the passengers in the ill fated vessel which was bound for Australi were from Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

Search operations were set to stretch into Saturday.

Rochmali, who was searching for survivors by helicopter, stated that they have widened the search area following the current to the west up to 60 kilometers, but there were no signs of any survivors on Friday morning.

Last week, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd changed Australia's refugee policy so that migrants who arrive by boat will no longer be allowed to settle in the country. Instead, they will be taken to the island nation of Papua New Guinea to be considered for resettlement there.