Australia sinking drowns dozens15 Dec 2010
Pics from your scene confirmed the boat, thought to be carrying Iranians and Iraqis, smashed to pieces.
Witnesses said they might do little to assist because the seas have been too rough to approach the vessel.
The boat appeared to be attempting to land at Xmas Island, where Australia has an immigration detention centre.
The BBCs Nick Bryant, in Sydney, says he understands that about 70 individuals have been on the vessel and about forty have been rescued.
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, standing in for Julia Gillard whilst she is on holiday, confirmed that many people had died but couldnt say how many.
‘A amount of individuals have been rescued, but sadly some bodies have been retrieved,’ he said.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Flying Medical doctor Service said 30 individuals have been getting handled for injuries and three of them have been critically sick.
Citizens of Xmas Island said they have been alerted to the catastrophe by the seems of screaming from your shore.
‘We threw ropes over the cliffs and we should have thrown inside a few of hundred life-jackets,’ a person resident was quoted as declaring by the West Australian newspaper web site.
‘About 15 or 20 individuals managed to obtain in to the jackets but you will discover bodies all around the water.
‘There are lifeless babies, lifeless girls and lifeless youngsters from the water. The swell is unbelievably large.’
An additional resident, Simon Prince, told Related Press: ‘The engine had failed. They have been washing backward and ahead extremely close to the cliffs right here, that are jagged limestone cliffs, extremely nasty.
‘When the boat hit the cliff there was a sickening crack. All the individuals on board rushed to the land aspect, which is the worst thing they might do.’
Australian media said residents alerted the police at 0545 (2045 GMT on Tuesday).
Australia Customs released two inflatable boats to rescue survivors.
One particular witness, documentary maker Philip Stewart, said he arrived at the shore about an hour right after the boat initially hit the rocks and it was by now in pieces.
He said he saw about 7 survivors but circumstances have been too rough for rescuers to obtain close sufficient to assist.
‘They have been waving and shouting and screaming for aid,’ he told Australias ABC Information.
‘They have been desperate, by that stage they had been from the water for an hour by now.
‘They hung on for provided that they maybe could and each and every one among them was eventually thrown off in to the sea on to the rocks.’
He said he saw a person individual picked up whilst the other people drowned.
Australia has observed an increase this year in asylum seekers arriving by boat.
Youll find at the moment virtually three,000 individuals from the Xmas Island processing centre waiting for officials to rule on their situations.
The island is from the Indian Ocean, about 1,200km (750 miles) north-west in the Australian mainland and about 300km south of Indonesia.