CIANJUR, July 25, 2013 (AFP) – The confirmed death toll from the sinking of a boatload of Australia-bound asylum-seekers rose to 11 Thursday, as rescuers continued searching the seas off Indonesia for survivors. Local police spokesman Achmad Suprijatna told AFP two more bodies were found Thursday morning, two days after the boat sank off the southwestern coast of Java.
“One was a 30-year-old Iranian, and the other a five-year-old Sri Lankan boy,” he said, adding 189 had been saved.
Six children and a pregnant woman are now among the 11 dead, according to authorities.
The number on the overloaded boat was unclear. Police have said around 200 were aboard, but an asylum-seeker has said 250 people, mostly Sri Lankans, made the perilous journey.
Australian authorities alerted Indonesia of the incident Tuesday evening, just days after Canberra announced that asylum-seekers who arrive by boat will no longer be resettled in Australia even if they secure refugee status.
Chief of the rescue mission Rochmali, who goes by one name, said a helicopter had been deployed Thursday and merchant vessels sailing nearby were alerted to watch out for survivors.
“We don’t know exactly how many people wer