Four dead after boat capsizes near Australia, officials say
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 0308 GMT (1108 HKT)
Royal Australian Navy's David Johnston (R) and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare (L), spoke to the press on Wednesday.
- It was not clear where the passengers were from or where they were going
- A news release from an Australian agency described them as "asylum seekers"
- 144 were rescued after the vessel capsized in rough seas
- Another boat capisized in the area last week, leaving eight missing
(CNN) -- Turbulent waters north of Christmas Island near Australia caused a boat carrying asylum-seekers to capsize Tuesday night leaving four passengers dead, according to Australian Customs and Border Protection.
Approximately 150 were on board the vessel, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
A Royal Australian Air Force plane and an operation by the Australian navy rescued 144 people about 70 nautical miles off the island. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre coordinated efforts to gather passengers to safety. It was not clear whether other passengers were missing, or where they were from.
Other vessels were radioed and assisted in rescue efforts until around 9:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET) when the search was discontinued, said the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in a news release, which referred to the passengers as "asylum seekers."
Prior to the capsizing, the boat requested help from the Australian patrol vessel HMAS Albany, but bad weather would not allow a boarding.
When the Albany finally arrived along with HMAS Warramunga, they headed back to land not long before the boat tipped over, causing people on board to catapult into sea.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority originally stated that 180 people were on board, but provided a smaller number later in the day.
Another boat carrying asylum-seekers capsized just days earlier around the same location, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
On Friday, a Melbourne man called authorities for help when he noticed a vessel carrying 97 people was in danger, the report said.
Authorities arrived five hours later. Eight people from that boat are still missing and a 1-year-old baby died in the incident. The newspaper said the passengers were believed to be from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
CNN reached out to both the Australian Royal Navy and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority regarding Tuesday's incident but neither agency has responded.
Part of complete coverage on
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)
Presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and royals joined tens of thousands of South Africans to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
President Obama pays tribute at the Mandela Memorial: "Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done," he said.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
Until he returned home this weekend, Merrill Newman -- an American held in North Korea -- had no idea what a story he'd become.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 0246 GMT (1046 HKT)
Transportation throughout the inhospitable Arctic region may soon be revolutionized.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1430 GMT (2230 HKT)
There were no genetic tests 400,000 years ago, so our ancient relatives didn't know as much about themselves as we know about them now.
Theme parks, sports stadiums, and city squares are among the most popular destinations that people checked into on Facebook in 2013.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
At a time when many have lost faith in the global financial system, Bitcoin is being hailed as the future of e-commerce.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
Actress Eleanor Parker, nominated for three Oscars and known for her "Sound of Music" role, died Monday at 91, her family said.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Director and actor Charlie Chaplin made Virginia Cherrill perform one scene -- in which she says just two words in a silent film -- 342 times.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Each volunteer at Yekokeb Berhan in Ethiopia will take in 25 disadvantaged children as her own.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
The Web is set to change our lives over the next decade. This will also question the use of personal data and balancing new powers with ethics.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
Today's five most popular stories