Asylum seekers killed in boat crash off Christmas Island


This is disgusting, how could this happen? These people are first and foremost human beings for Christ sake. Somebody, a government, a department, someone has to put a hand of here, instead of buck passing and playing the blame game of previous governments. This should never ever of happened in what is supposed to be a safe asylum shelter for refugee seekers. If this was a bunch of Aussies can you imagine the uproar. It makes me feel sick…Friggin Gillard cut into her holiday for Oprah photo stunts she better be on board for this fiasco…This is criminal, allowing this to happen, they are not a boat load of sheep!

Asylum seekers killed -Governments have to take responsibility WHY HASN’T OUR PM MADE A STATEMENT ON THIS HUMAN TRAGEDY ON OUR SHORES YET? (PUTTING THE SPIN ON IT I IMAGINE…)

(SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE PICS)

Dozens are feared dead after a boat carrying suspected asylum seekers crashed on Christmas Island

LATEST 4.15pm: ROUGH seas are hampering rescue efforts off Christmas Island where up to 40 asylum seekers are missing, feared drowned, after their boat smashed on rocks.

Forty-one people have so far been rescued after the boat carrying between 70 and 80 people was destroyed when it crashed on to the rocks near Flying Fish Cove about 9am (AEDT).

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said some asylum seekers had died in the tragedy.

“Sadly, some bodies have been retrieved,” he said.

He could not say how many people had died or how many had been rescued.

Mr Swan said the rescue was still going on. He said he had interrupted Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is on leave, to brief her about “this serious incident”.

He said the priority was to continue with the rescue and that it was “too early” to discuss asylum-seeker policy.

Christmas Island residents were alerted to the unfolding tragedy when they woke to the screams of those on board the Indonesian vessel.

The Indonesian boat was carrying mostly families and children and some single men – most did not know how to swim and many did not have life jackets. The asylum seekers on board were mainly from Iran and Iraq.

Local resident Michael Foster rushed to the scene to find debris and people everywhere in the water.

“It was like a large washing machine, people screaming out, getting tossed around by waves,” Mr Foster said.

“The current was pulling people from south to north basically and along the face of the cliffs around 30 metres out and then there were swells that were picking people up and throwing them into the wall.

“It was pretty horrendous – women and children screaming and carrying on, as well, and men.

“They had lifejackets and they were hanging on to driftwoods and whatever from the debris.

“A big swell was picking them up in one particular area and they were getting closer to the rocks. The swell picked them up 30 to 40 metres out and was bringing them in and smashing them into the wall. It was pretty ugly.

“I have never seen such a volume or number of people like that and then knowing you are helpless to do anything is probably the hardest thing that people are going to have to try and sort out, especially when you have women and children there, yelling out. You can see they’re either related or they’re trying to help each other.”

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison paid tribute to the brave people who had tried to rescue the asylum seekers.

“What has occurred today off the cliffs of Christmas Island represents our worst fears realised. This is a terrible human tragedy,” he said.

“The lives of the men, women and children on these boats are as precious as our own and we mourn their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. For those injured and in need, we pledge to take care of them as they recover from this tragedy.’

“For the community on Christmas Island who have put themselves in harm’s way to assist those in need; this event will remain with them for some time. We stand by you as fellow Australians.”

Mr Morrison, who has been a strong critic of the Governemnt’s boat people policy, said: “Today is a day for sadness, not for policy discussion and analysis.”

But Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul blamed the Gillard Government for the tragedy.

“Government anti-refugee policy is responsible for the tragedy on Christmas Island,” he said.

“Our heart goes out to the people and their families of the asylum seekers who have lost their lives, so close to the possibility of protection.

“But the blame lies with the Australian Government. If the Australian Government was willing to properly process asylum seekers in Indonesia and resettle successful refugees in Australia, then far fewer people would get on boats to travel to Australia.”

Christmas Island resident Nick Tassone said he heard people on the boat screaming in terror early this morning.

“The refugee boat came past and there were heaps of people screaming,’’ he said. “They were being thrown about and I thought, ‘Where are they going to go?’’’

Mr Tassone said the boat was doomed the moment it approached Christmas Island.

“The oceans have been very rough the last few days on this side of the island. Impossible for a refugee boat to come in anywhere down the cove or anywhere (on the island),’’ he said.

Mr Tassone said the smell of diesel fuel filled the air as debris and bodies washed past his viewing point from the second floor of the Rumah Tinggi Hotel.

“There is debris everywhere … It’s hard to tell if we’re seeing bodies, but we could see their lifejackets. It was very hazy out there. The main bulk of the hull is just floating past me now,’’ he said.

Witness Phillip Stewart told Sky News what had unfolded was a “major tragedy”.

“We witnessed people drowning who did get off the boat but unfortunately were hit against the limestone rocks,” he said.

“We did witness one person jumping off a piece of flotsam and swimming to a naval rescue, but unfortunately what we witnessed was a major tragedy.”

Mr Stewart, who’s on the island making a documentary, said the asylum seeker boat was completely destroyed in the stormy conditions.

“There’s absolutely nothing left of the boat,” he said.

“It’s very steep cliffs and you’ve got waves of four to five metres breaking right up over the cliffs.”

A larger naval vessel was further out to sea and two smaller inflatables were involved in the rescue effort, Mr Stewart said.

“They were coming in trying to get as close to the people as possible to get them off.

“But the refugees … were in the surge zone, one of the most dangerous areas they could be.”

Life-long Christmas Island resident Kamar Ismail told ABC TV he and around 20 other locals tried to help by throwing life-jackets and ropes to the asylum seekers.

But he said it was too rough to get close and the boat was eventually swept on to the rocks and “smashed into pieces”.

“We just couldn’t help because it was too rough,” Mr Ismail said.

“It was very, very dangerous.”

Mr Ismail said people on the boat were calling for help before the vessel was destroyed and they were cast into the water.

The Christmas Island resident said navy rescue boats arrived 10 to 20 minutes after the asylum seeker vessel was destroyed on the rocks.

Asked if he was optimistic most of the passengers were rescued from the water, Mr Ismail said: “We hope so … but I’m worried for the kids.”

The Australian Federal Police said in a statement that it was responding to an incident with government agencies on the island.

“This response is ongoing and the AFP’s priority is the safety of all involved in the incident,” the statement read.

“A more detailed statement regarding this matter will be provided as soon as it is possible.”

Customs have mounted a search and rescue operation using inflatable runabouts and are throwing life jackets into the water. Christmas Island residents have also been seen throwing ropes into the water.

The seas have been extremely rough in recent days and so dangerous that a Customs vessel with about 100 asylum seekers onboard from two other boats that have arrived in recent days has been unable to unload them due to the danger.

A Navy vessel is also in the area. It had unloaded 11 asylum seekers last night.

MORE PICTURES, WHAT A MESS

14 thoughts on “Asylum seekers killed in boat crash off Christmas Island

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Asylum seekers killed in boat crash off Christmas Island « Aussie Criminals and Crooks -- Topsy.com

  2. I’m not sure in this instance you can blame the Australian Government….it appears to be an accident and surely these people, when they board unseaworthy vessels, must do so with some trepidation!
    I agree that it is very tragic, but it would appear everything that can be done to rescue the survivors is being done.
    The issue of asylum seekers is a different matter altogether and I for one don’t want the floodgates opened to everyone who would choose to live here, we do have to be discerning if we want to maintain our way of life and beliefs. We are already seeing the minorities voices being heard above the majorities, particulary at this time of the year.
    I suggest to anyone that who thinks we should just let them in by the boat load that they take a look at the UK and what has resulted from just that.
    I am not anti immigration, but we do need to have some sort of screening process or we will come to regret it as other nations are now experiencing.

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    • Hi Jules, I am not sure yet its the Australian government, although this government are responsible for directing asylum seekers to Christmas Island for administration of their claims. Surely some responsibility must be in place for the safe passage of those craft? Where was the coast guard or other service in charge of the coast there? Surely a boat is picked up on the “Radar” well before it is in danger of crashing into rocks right on the beach line? I am against illegal refugees as much as anyone, but to just ignore this incoming vessel because it was just a refugee boat is appalling (if that is what has happened) Have we become so stone cold? Cheers

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  3. Why in the f*** don’t they meet all these boats as they are coming in say 200m offshore and guide them into a safe landing spot, or transfer them onto a govt boat? I really thought this already happened…. :confused:

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    • Exactly Mrs Norris…They pick these boats up miles off shore on the radars etc.This was an avoidable tragedy, that will have the world looking at our country as not giving 2 shits. A boat in our waters is a boat in our waters, whether it is Joe Blow and his kids fishing, or a refugee boat, people smugglers whatever. I am astonished by this, could be 50 or more dead…

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  4. If you guys did your homework, you would see that the JORN radar system does not pick up small wooden boats very well especially with 5-6m waves hiding them and in particular at dusk and dawn when they approached.
    As bad as this is tradgedy was, let this be a lesson to others that may try.

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    • Dij that is not much of an excuse, how would the general public know what these radars do.Forget who is inside the boat, would you be so blasé about it if it was full of guys fishing on a footy trip from Melbourne???? This is what the outrage is about…

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  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Asylum seekers killed in boat crash off Christmas Island « Aussie Criminals and Crooks -- Topsy.com

  6. I have a heart but there is also the principle of all matters. I would not even go past the sydney heads in a boat or with a captian with the reputation of boat smugglers. We only hear about up to 70% of illegal boats that enter our waters and now it’s our fault we did not save these people. We spend more money making sure every illegal immigrant gets more care than the people who paid taxes all their lives or fought in the wars to protect Australia. Maybe we should send flyers and newsletters to the distant countries and the people that may be inclined to travel this way to Australia, show them images and tell them the truth about their chances? Travel by sea has always been regarded as perilous.

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  7. Pingback: No Christmas on Christmas Island | YLBnoel's Blog

  8. The refugees cant blame anyone, except themselves! They knew the risks, the danger when they got into that boat. and i think australia have been very kind to asylum seekers :/

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  9. The muslim males pushed the women and children away from the lifevests just to save themselves dirty muslim shit keep them all out off Australia!!

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  10. My god, you people are typical of the new ‘Australia’ being moulded by the media into narrow minded, racist , greedy, petty fools.So long as the majority of the people are as gullible and easily fooled as you,the right wings of our major political parties will continue to abuse these refugees,( the majority from wars we helped start and continue to wage) and use them as political pawns.Instead of tackling the real issues facing our country and planet, which the media machine has managed to convince you all are not really happening.If people like you were not so easily manipulated,these refugees would not have to take these extraordinary risks to hopefully gain safety for themselves and their children.Don’t blame the government,they are only pandering to the redneck vote,which appears to be large enough to now decide elections.Guess who the redneck voters are ? You are the rednecks fools,so you are as much to blame as anyone else for this debacle and only you can stop this .Stop the wars – Stop the refugees,help the people that need help.Tell these two political parties that want to base our federal elections on racism rather than real issues, that this is totally unacceptable behaviour,and most importantly, DONT LET THE BIAS OF MEDIA INFLUENCE YOUR DECISIONS,SEE THROUGH THE CRAP.

    PS. 60,000 people overstay their visas each year in Australia,how many come in via boat ? less than 2000 isn’t it.

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  11. There is no way we should be responsible for protecting any and every boat floating around in the ocean in Australian waters, we can’t even stop illegal fisherman poaching our fish stocks, these illegals knew the risks, I take full responsibility for my own safety when iI head out to sea in my boat, hopefully this will send a message so they stop coming, they are costing aussie tax payers hundeds of millions that could be better spent on schools, hospitals, aged care, roads, homelessness and a countless other underfunded Australian infrastructures.

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