Dec 16, 2010

Asylum seeker boat crash at Christmas Island

Crikey media wrap: A boat carrying up to 100 asylum seekers crashed into cliffs at Christmas Island in terrible weather yesterday, killing 28 people, including women and children. It's a heartbreaking tale, with Christmas Island locals providing distressing first-person accounts.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

A boat carrying up to 100 asylum seekers crashed into cliffs at Christmas Island in terrible weather yesterday, killing 28 people, including women and children. It’s a heartbreaking tale, with graphic photos and videos showing people desperately trying keep themselves afloat as the boat smashed into debris on the cliffs.

The navy managed to rescue 44 people — all Iraqis and Iranians — from the waters, with 11 of those being under 18. The number of dead could rise as bodies are still being collected.

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20 thoughts on “Asylum seeker boat crash at Christmas Island

  1. AdamNeira

    “Gillard Goverment has blood on its hands”, says Andrew Bolt from the Herald Sun.

    Andrew Bolt could not be more wrong. He must have written this to provoke a reaction in the media marketplace. The Great Southern Land is a magnet for many people. The government is not responsible for every human being in the world who will do anything to get here. The deaths are a terrible tragedy. Australia has a right to its sovereignty and a well defined, protected border. There is way too much apportioning of blame in this country on the wrong targets. Some perspective is required.

  2. arnold ziffel

    Interesting to hear discussion on Philip Clark’s ABC radio program this morning – he’s a refugee from commercial radio now back in the ABC fold.
    He appears to have picked up bad habits from his former shock-jock mates – repeatedly asserting that these are ‘illegal boat people’, with the stop-the-boats, trash-the-UN-Convention theme that’s almost universal now.
    Ian Rintoul and others interviewed fortunately were able to reinforce the message that this incident could have been averted via a proper refugee assessment and settlement program based in Indonesia and elsewhere.

  3. Ty

    Come on Abbot, I dare you…

    “What this latest event clearly shows, upsetting though it is… is that not only will these people throw their children overboard… they will even crash their boat into a cliff and die in tragic numbers with their ILLEGAL attempts to reach OUR country. Furthermore, such actions are hardly those of a reasonable people. And so, we can conclude that they are radical extremists. Our thanks goes to those brave cliffs who sustained considerable personal injury in protecting OUR SHORES.”

    I’m upset that Australia’s attitudes towards these desperate people have made me so cynical.

  4. Shooba

    TY, it’s be funny if it weren’t a possibility!

    Alternatively, in my blind optimism, I’m hoping for either Gillard or Abbott to come out and say:

    “This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts go first to those lost and their families. Secondly, this is not a time for political spin or one-upping each other – This is a time to help those who survived. In time, we will have to investigate the circumstances that lead to this tragedy. We will then take steps to try and prevent this from ever happening again. Whether that involves more stringent naval policy, extended surveillance or a tougher policy on asylum seekers arriving by boat, we cannot say for certain at the moment. Decisions such as these should be based on reason, not hysteria.”

    Aaaah the folly of youth. If I were a betting man I would place money on TY’s theoretical response, not my own.

  5. Johnfromplanetearth

    And here we have that imbecile David Marr blaming the Navy! Bloody idiot!

  6. Holden Back

    Here’s a thought exercise which maybe useful. Let’s assume, until proven otherwise, that the dead were Christian Iraqis and Iranians.

  7. Peter Phelps

    The Left got its policy prescritpion wrong – deadly wrong.

    Conversely, Morrison, Bolt and Blair got it right – tragically right.

    You just can’t handle the truth, Lefties, and now you seek refuge in silence (“now is not the time…”) or obfuscation (“the navy should have intervened…”).

    Congratulations on the brave, new world you made.

  8. Juffy

    Shooba – actually, Wayne Swan said something pretty similar last night on 7:30 report. Not a single bit of partisan bollocks in his entire response, I was…mildly stunned.

  9. sickofitall

    No Marilyn Shepherd? But I know her rage will be palpable, as well it should be. I’m too sad to be angry. But this is disgraceful.

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