Ship sinks off Indonesia's coast, at least 9 dead

May 29, 2009 09:43

Rescuers searched for survivors Friday after a wooden boat packed with Afghan migrants sank off western Indonesia, killing at least nine people and leaving 11 others missing, the navy said. More than a dozen Afghans have been found alive in the Malacca Strait, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from land, said Al Muhfid, a navy second lieutenant. Most were plucked from the choppy waters by fishermen immediately after Thursday's accident. The Afghan men, including several who were badly hurt, told authorities they had flown from Afghanistan to Malaysia, where human traffickers offered to help them get by boat to Australia, where they hoped to start a new life. But nine hours into the journey, as they were nearing Indonesia's coast of Sumatra to refuel, they encountered a dark, thick haze triggered by land-clearing forest fires. They slammed into a fishing platform, putting the boat off balance.

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