Boat with Arab asylum seekers sinks off Indonesian coast; 22 people dead
At least 22 people, mostly children, have drowned after an Australia-bound boat carrying Middle Eastern asylum-seekers sank off Indonesia Friday.
AFP reports that twenty five people were rescued. However, a further seventy people are still unaccounted for after the boat capsized.
A majority of the passengers on the boat were from Lebanon. An Al Arabiya article tells of a Lebanese man who survived by swimming to an island. However, he believes that his wife and eight children perished in the accident.
A police official in Cianjur district on Java, said the bodies were discovered floating in an estuary on Friday morning. The boat had been carrying around 120 people. It had departed from the Indonesian fishing town of Pelabuhan Ratu, and was making its way to the Australian territory of Christmas Island.
Thousands of asylum seekers pay smugglers huge sums to make the treacherous crossing from Indonesia to Australia. Of these, hundreds die every year as they make the journey on rickety, ramshackle boats.
Hundreds of asylum seekers from around the world have died in recent years trying to make the treacherous sea crossing from Indonesia to Australia on rickety, wooden boats.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently won the elections in Australia. One of the main slogans of his campaign was "Stop the Boats".