Three dead as boat capsizes off Australia's Christmas Island
THREE people have been killed and another 110 had to be rescued after a boat capsized off Australia's remote Christmas Island with around 200 people believed to be on board.
"We have 110 survivors and three confirmed dead so far," a spokeswoman from Australia's Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) told AFP. One of the survivors is a 13-year-old boy.
"The survivors have arrived at Christmas Island. They were rescued wearing life jackets and we are quite confident we will could recover more survivors," added the spokeswoman who said the water temperature was warm.
The ship, en route from Sri Lanka, issued a distress call and capsized 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, some 1,600 miles from the Australian mainland on Thursday afternoon.
It is the latest in a series of refugee boat disasters in the Indian Ocean in recent years, as rickety, overloaded vessels packed with desperate migrants sink on their way to Australia.
Four merchant vessels, two Australian Defence Force ships and five aircraft are involved in the search.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said all those on the stricken vessel were believed to be men.
"Initial indications suggest there were approximately 200 people on the vessel," he told reporters. "One survivor is reported to be a 13-year-old boy, the remainder are reported to be all adults.
"We're still in that critical window where more lives could be saved," he added.