Sunday 3 February 2013

3 Burmese men lost at sea

Source Mizzima, 31 Jan
Three Burmese men have been lost at sea after they jumped ship when their makeshift boat broke down between Australia and Indonesia, AFP reported on Thursday.

An Indonesian crewman who was also aboard the people-smuggling ship washed up on a remote Australian island after days clinging to a piece of driftwood.

"The four men reportedly left a disabled vessel on 24 January 2013 on a raft made of inner tubes and bamboo bound with rope," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said to AFP on Thursday.

According to the crewman, their raft broke up in poor weather on their first night at sea and he became separated from the three asylum-seekers, only managing to survive by clinging to a piece of driftwood.

Authorities were first alerted to the men's plight last Friday, when the navy found their original vessel adrift about 20 nautical miles from Christmas Island. The 16 Burmese asylum-seekers on board revealed the raft tale, reported AFP.

"Following confirmation by the survivor that the men were no longer on the raft, AMSA suspended the air and sea search, noting medical advice that the persons could not have survived at sea without support from the raft," it said to AFP.

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