AMSA coordinates search and rescue north of Ashmore Island
At approximately 3pm AEDT on Wednesday, a Customs and Border Protection Command Dash 8 aircraft was conducting a routine patrol in the area when it sighted what appeared to be a broken up vessel with a number of people in the vicinity in the water.
AMSA tasked HMAS Childers to provide assistance, and three aircraft and three merchant vessels were also diverted to the scene to assist. A short time later, the crew of HMAS Childers reported to have recovered 77 people from the water.
AMSA’s Dornier aircraft conducted an aerial search to confirm no other people were in the water.
Following interviews with the survivors, the crew of HMAS Childers is confident to have rescued all the people on board the vessel when it broke up.
The survivors are currently being taken to Christmas Island on board Customs and Border Protection Command vessel Ocean Protector.
AMSA did not receive any distress calls from this vessel and at this stage it is not known what may have caused the vessel to break up.
AMSA wishes to thank the crews of the Australian assets and merchant vessels for their swift and professional efforts to rescue the people.