Sur­vivors pray for 30 lost in Aus­tralia refugee wreck

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

SYD­NEY: Trau­ma­tised sur­vivors of a refugee boat wreck off Aus­tralia held a pri­vate vigil be­hind bars for the 30 peo­ple who died, as de­bate raged over Can­berra's pol­icy on boat peo­ple ar­riv­ing from Asia.

Po­lice divers trawled un­der­sea caves along the coast­line of re­mote Christ­mas Is­land but found no fur­ther bod­ies from Wed­nes­day's dis­as­ter, in which a rick­ety boat crowded with up to 100 Ira­nian, Iraqi and Kur­dish asy­lum seekers was dashed against sharp rocks.

The 42 peo­ple res­cued from the sea now faced the har­row­ing task of iden­ti­fy­ing their loved ones among the dead, said po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent Gavin Ryan, af­ter the search for sur­vivors was called off late Fri­day.

Ryan said he ex­pected "to have a de­fin­i­tive an­swer on how many are ac­tu­ally missing" by Mon­day, adding that the po­lice fo­cus was now on guid­ing sur­vivors in iden­ti­fy­ing the vic­tims-a task he said was about half­way com­plete.

"It's ex­cru­ci­at­ing for ev­ery­one," Ryan said of the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process. -Afp

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