18 Dec '11, 12am
Boat of migrants reportedly carrying 250 asylum seekers from the Middle East sinks off Indonesia
JAKARTA (AFP) - A wooden boat reportedly carrying 250 asylum seekers from the Middle East sank off Indonesia's Java island Saturday en route to Australia, state-run news agency Antara reported. 'The boat sank on Saturday evening, and the national search and rescue team has already moved out to sea to start the search,' search and rescue team member Brian Gauthier told Antara. 'It is somewhat difficult to go on with the search because extreme weather has caused reduced visibility,' he added. Thirty-three people have been rescued and are receiving assistance in the town of Prigi in eastern Java, around 30km from where the boat sank, Mr Gauthier said, adding that the rescue team believed some passengers were still alive and were likely suffering 'severe dehydration'.