Banyuwangi (Indonesia): Indonesian rescuers have found the bloated and rotting bodies of dozens of asylum seekers from an overloaded boat that capsized en route to Australia, an official said on Wednesday.
At least 47 survivors were rescued after the vessel,
which had a capacity of 100 but was carrying about 250 mostly
Afghan and Iranian migrants, sank 40 nautical miles off
eastern Java early Saturday.
Hopes of finding more survivors dwindled after the
"Rescuers have brought 30 bodies to the shore while 10
others are on a navy ship heading to shore," East Java search
and rescue agency chief Sutrisno said.
"There are still many bodies scattered and floating on
the waters, we cannot tell you how many exactly," he added.
"We found them floating in the waters near Banyuwangi
district, 320 kilometres away from where the boat capsized on
Saturday," Sutrisno said.
A reporter on the scene said that at least one of
the bodies brought ashore was a young boy around seven or
eight years old.
Rescue workers said some bodies were so decomposed that
their limbs came off as they were pulled out of the water.
Thirty-four migrants were plucked from shark-infested
waters by fishermen on Saturday, and 13 others were found
drifting in a dinghy on Monday.
Survivors said they had paid between USD 2,500 to USD
5,000 to people-smugglers for the illegal sea journey.
While most survivors have been unable to speak coherently
due to exhaustion and shock, some of the 13 told harrowing
tales of clinging to wreckage for three days in violent seas,
before being rescued by a passing boat.