More than 100 asylum seekers have been rescued after their boat capsized off Christmas Island,the Sydney Morning Herald reported
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority received a request for help from a person on board the boat this morning, about 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island in an area believed to be in Australian waters. A customs plane spotted the partially-submerged boat shortly after noon on Tuesday.
By 3.30 pm 106 people were recovered from the water. Two were said to have minor injuries.
An estimated 105 people were on board the vessel, but AMSA said its search and rescue operation would continue.
The navy's HMAS Parramatta was joined by a merchant vessel in conducting the rescue operation. Another navy ship is en route.
The boat capsizing comes as the federal government faces a legal challenge to its recently announced resettlement plan, which it says would mean no asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat would be resettled in Australia.
This is the first reported boat crisis in Australian waters since Labor announced its new asylum seeker policy in late July.
The boat capsizing comes after two boat disasters last month, where a baby boy and four people died in two separate incidents. In June, 13 people died in another disaster.
The government has claimed that boat arrivals have fallen by as much as 30 per cent in the month since the Papua New Guinea plan was announced in July, although a Fairfax Media analysis showed the drop was less than 20 per cent, the the Sydney Morning Herald report said