106 boat people saved off Australia

AFP-JIJI

Some 106 people were plucked to safety from a sinking asylum seeker boat off Australia on Tuesday as rescuers averted disaster just weeks from an election in which boat people have emerged as a key issue.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority earlier reported a vessel with about 105 people on board was in trouble almost 200 km north of the Australian territory of Christmas Island.

AMSA had received a request for assistance from someone on board and a navy ship and a customs and border protection aircraft responded. A merchant boat also joined the rescue effort.

“Two people are reported to have minor injuries,” an AMSA spokeswoman said. “Search and rescue operations continue.”