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Asylum Boat Sinks Off Indonesian Coast; 100 Rescued

Indonesian authorities are searching for survivors after an Australia-bound boat carrying as many as 150 asylum seekers sank off the southwest coast of Java.

Officials said Wednesday at least 100 people have been rescued. So far, at least one person has been reported dead. An unknown number of others are missing.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the boat left an Indonesian fishing village Tuesday bound for Australia's Christmas Island, and sank a short while later when hit by heavy easterly winds. There was no immediate information on the nationality of the passengers.

Australian radio quotes the AMSA as saying Indonesia is coordinating rescue operations and that search teams have been deployed to the area.



Hundreds of would-be asylum seekers -- many from Afghanistan and other South Asian nations -- have drowned in recent years trying to reach Australia from Indonesia in flimsy boats operated by people smugglers.

The Australian government says more than 15,000 refugees have arrived on boats so far this year.

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