24 Jun 2012

More bodies found after asylum seeker boat capsizes

7:22 pm on 24 June 2012

Australia border protection authorities say they have now recovered 17 bodies from the area where an asylum seeker boat capsized on Thursday.

Up to 90 people are feared dead after the boat overturned about 200 kilometres north of Christmas Island.

Authorities have rescued 110 people, including two Indonesian crew members who may now face criminal charges.

The ABC reports the bodies recovered so far will be transferred to Christmas Island where they will be examined by forensic police and disaster victim identification specialists.

The search for survivors was called off on Saturday night but one navy boat is continuing to search for bodies.

Most of the survivors are being held at a detention centre on Christmas Island.

Customs official Michael Farrelly assisted with the transfer and says the asylum seekers expressed gratitude to their rescuers.

Four of the injured have been flown to Perth and are in a serious but stable condition in Royal Perth Hospital. Their injuries are unknown.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority believes more than 200 people may have been on the boat when it left Indonesia, but says an accurate figure may never be known.