August 30, 2012
Forty-five people have been rescued from the area where an asylum seeker boat sank on its way to Australia.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said at 1930 (AEST) on Thursday 45 survivors had been recovered, with three seriously injured survivors being treated on board the naval vessel HMAS Maitland.
Six men were plucked from the sea early on Thursday by the merchant vessel, the APL Bahrain.
Another 16 were spotted from the air on Thursday afternoon and were later picked up by HMAS Maitland, and another 23 were recovered by merchant vessels in the area.
An Indonesian search and rescue vessel, as well as a police patrol boat, were to meet with the APL Bahrain at about 4.30pm local time (1930 AEST) to transfer its survivors to the port of Merak in western Java.
They will be taken to Merak, Indonesia, for medical attention.
All were on a boat carrying up to 150 people on its way from Indonesia to Australia.
Two distress signals were received from the boat early on Wednesday morning off Java’s western-most tip but a search failed to find them.
However, early on Thursday morning, a merchant vessel acting on information from AMSA found six survivors 45 nautical miles from Indonesia, sparking a major search operation.
AMSA said the search and rescue, being conducted in coordination with Indonesian search and rescue agency BASARNAS, would continue through the night.
HMAS Maitland and four merchant vessels are on the scene looking for survivors.