Scores rescued from water after ship capsizes off Australia

Story highlights

  • Rescuers have saved 130 people from the water
  • One body has been recovered, and three people are missing
  • The vessel turned over north of Australia's Christmas Island
  • It is the second vessel to capsize in the area in the past week

Rescuers pulled 130 people from the waters between Australia and Indonesia on Wednesday after a ship capsized, the Australian authorities said.

Merchant and naval vessels, as well as a patrol aircraft, carried out the rescue effort about 107 nautical miles north of Australia's Christmas Island, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

By Wednesday night, 130 people had been rescued from about 134 believed to have been on board the ship when it turned over, the authority said in a statement. One body has been recovered, and three people are thought to have gone down with the ship, the statement said.

The rescue effort has now been called off as no more survivors or deceased people have been spotted, the maritime authority said. The Australian authorities had initially estimated that about 150 people were on board the vessel.

Ship capsizes off Australia

Jo Meehan, a spokeswoman for the maritime authority, declined to comment on the nationality of the people on board the ship and the purpose of their voyage.

"We don't have details on origin or intended destination of the vessel," she said.

The ship is the second to capsize in the area in the past week.

A vessel carrying an estimated 200 people seeking asylum in Australia turned over last week 110 nautical miles northwest of Christmas Island.

Rescuers recovered 110 survivors and six dead bodies from that accident, according to the Australian authority. An accurate number of exactly how many people died "may never be known," it said.

"We never know the exact number of people on board as they get on board illegally," Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency, said last week.

Christmas Island is a remote territory northwest of the Australian mainland and close to Indonesia.

Several ships carrying people seeking asylum in Australia have run into trouble near Christmas Island in the past two years.

110 people rescued from capsized boat