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Indonesian authorities say up to 15 asylum seekers are still missing and eight are reportedly dead after their boat sank off the coast of Java yesterday.

The vessel sunk in heavy seas off the coast of Java yesterday and Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says it is likely those on board were heading to Australia.

A total of 57 people have been rescued and Indonesian authorities say they will resume the search this morning for about 15 people who are still missing.

The deputy police commissioner for the area, Agus Santoso, told the ABC the search had to be suspended yesterday because of poor conditions and nightfall.

He said bad weather and overcrowding may have contributed to the accident.

This morning local media reported that another body had been found, bringing the death toll to eight. At least one child is known to have died.

More than 70 people were on board the nine-metre long wooden boat when it sank about 80 kilometres west of Bali yesterday.

The local fishermen’s association has reportedly been warning for days that conditions were too rough to go out in, with two-to-three metre waves and strong winds.

“[It] underscores the absolute dire need to put in the strongest possible deterrent,” Mr O’Connor said yesterday.

“We have seen too many people lured onto unseaworthy vessels.”

“It really is a time for reflection on this awful tragedy; we need to send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those people who have perished.”

More, ABC Online HERE

First published: 2011-11-02 04:34 AM

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