Dozens Feared Dead in Australia Sinking

Asylum ship smashes on Christmas Island cliffs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2010 1:02 AM CST

(Newser) – Dozens of people are believed to have been killed when a wooden boat packed with around 70 asylum seekers smashed apart on jagged cliffs on Christmas Island today. Residents of the remote Australian island watched helplessly as passengers, including women and children, were flung into churning water and smashed against rocks, AP reports.

"When the boat hit the cliff there was a sickening crack. All the people on board rushed to the land side, which is the worst thing they could do, but I don't think anybody could swim," a witness said. Residents threw lifejackets into the water from above and several would-be rescuers were injured on the rocks. Local news reports say the Australian Navy has rescued around 40 people but 30 more are missing.

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