9 Apr 2013

Asylum boat found after distress call

1:21 pm on 9 April 2013

An asylum seeker boat which broadcast a distress call off Christmas Island has been located by the Australian Navy.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said reports were received around midnight (AWST) that the boat was having engine problems and was filling with smoke.

A merchant vessel was diverted to the area and was later joined by HMAS Pirie, but neither could find it.

The boat carrying 64 people was eventually found by the navy on Tuesday morning 60 nautical miles off the island.

All on board have been transferred to HMAS Pirie.

The ABC reports four boats carrying more than 340 asylum seekers have been intercepted in the area In the past two days.