x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

55 asylum seekers saved from shipwreck

Rescuers plucked 55 survivors from the ocean yesterday, more than a day after an boat packed with asylum-seekers heading for Australia disappeared off the Indonesian coast with 150 people aboard.

SYDNEY // Rescuers plucked 55 survivors from the ocean yesterday, more than a day after an boat packed with asylum-seekers heading for Australia disappeared off the Indonesian coast with 150 people aboard.

After Indonesia abandoned its search, six people were rescued overnight by a cargo ship and 49 more were pulled from the water by an Australian navy crew after being located by spotter planes yesterday.

The Australian government said three of the surivors had serious injuries but were in stable condition. Indonesian rescuers said it appeared that one of the survivors had been bitten by a shark.

Indonesia's ocean rescue agency received an alert early on Wednesday that a boat was in distress between Java and Sumatra, 220 nautical miles from the Australian territory of Christmas Island. It sent two police rescue boats and a helicopter but found nothing and returned to base.