106 asylum seekers pulled from water off Christmas Island

Aug. 20, 2013 at 6:50 AM
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CHRISTMAS ISLAND, Australia, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Australian navy pulled 106 asylum seekers from their partly submerged boat near Christmas Island Tuesday, maritime officials said.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority sent the HMAS Parramatta and a customs plane to the area after receiving a distress call from the partly submerged vessel, which was still upright, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

A merchant boat and another navy vessel, the HMAS Pirie, also assisted in the rescue. At least two people suffered minor injuries.

The nationality of the asylum seekers was not reported, but they will be taken to Christmas Island for health and security checks before being sent to Papua New Guinea, part of a new policy unveiled last month by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, ABC said.

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