Disasters & Accidents

Australia rescues 11 Indonesian fishers stranded on desert island

Sydney, Australia, Apr 19 (EFE).- Eleven Indonesian fishers have been rescued after nearly a week without food or water from a remote desert island off Australia after getting caught up in Cyclone Ilsa, an incident which has left eight other people missing.

The group had been traveling on two boats, one of which sank in the storm with nine people on board, and another vessel with 10 on board that washed up on Bedwell Island in the Rowley Shoals, some 300 kilometers from Broome on the northwest of the mainland, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported Wednesday in a statement.

One person from the shipwrecked boat of nine washed up alive on the same island after 30 hours in the water using a jerry can to keep himself afloat.

The 11 survivors spent six days without food or water until they were spotted by a patrol plane and rescued on Monday night.

AMSA did not say whether it had started a search and rescue operation for the eight missing fishers.

The fact that the survivors lasted for so long is “remarkable,” according to what Gordon Watt, a search and rescue expert with PHI Aviation which was involved in the rescue, told public broadcaster ABC.

“Untold, unimaginable fear I’d imagine is what they would have experienced,” he added.

The survivors, who were given medical assistance, are in good health and will be repatriated to Indonesia as soon as possible, ABC reported.

The shipwreck occurred during the passage last week of Cyclone Ilsa, which reached a maximum category five before making landfall in northwest Australia with record winds, although it did not leave casualties or major material damage. EFE


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