23 Jun 2012

Bad weather hampers search for boat people

11:11 pm on 23 June 2012

Bad weather is hampering the search for up to 90 asylum seekers still missing from a boat that capsized and sank in the Indian Ocean north of Australia's Christmas Island two days ago.

Searchers have recovered five bodies from the sea but the operation is looking increasingly grim.

Rescuers have found 109 people alive but 90 people are unaccounted for. The incident occurred in Indonesian waters on Thursday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says the search returned to full scale on Saturday morning.

Ninety six survivors were taken to Christmas Island by HMAS Wollongong on Friday. Three were then flown to a hospital in Perth for treatment. Their injuries are unknown.

Long term solution needed

Amnesty International is calling for a long term solution to asylum seekers.

"There needs to be a regional solution,'' said campaign officer Hannah Harborow.

''The Australian Government and the opposition needs to work with our northern neighbours - needs to work with Indonesia and Malaysia on a regional solution and this isn't short ad hoc solutions like we've seen in the past like the Malaysia deal or Nauru or Manus Island," she said.

"There's no quick fix here, this is a long-term solution that's needed."