News24

Bodies of asylum seekers found off Bali

2011-12-22 21:40

Jakarta - Search teams say the bloated bodies of asylum seekers whose overcrowded ship capsized over the weekend have been recovered in waters off Indonesia's resort island of Bali.

The vessel - carrying 250 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran - was hit by a huge wave in stormy weather. Only 49 people are known to have survived.

Sutrisno, a rescue official, said 90 corpses have been plucked from the sea so far, many of them carried as far as 400km from the capsize site by swift currents, including 16 found on Thursday off Bali.

A 7-year-old boy was among them.

Sutrisno said the wreckage of a boat was also found washed up on a shore in eastern Java, and is believed to be the one that carried the asylum seekers based on items that were found on board.

He said five navy ships, a plane, four helicopters and scores of fishing boats are involved in the search.

The Indonesian archipelago's thousands of kilometres of unpatrolled coastline make it a key transit point for smuggling migrants.