2 Immigrants dead, 100 rescued near Australian island

Sydney, Mar 25 (EFE).- At least two people died and nearly 100 were rescued by Australian authorities when the boat they were traveling on sank off the coast of Christmas Island, the Australian government announced Monday.

Interior Minister Jason Clare told reporters that 93 people, two of them in serious condition, were being transported on board a coast guard vessel to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean some 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles) from Australia to receive medical care and be identified.

In addition, an aircraft is overflying the area where the boat sank searching for more survivors.

Christmas Island, due to its location near the coast of the Indonesian island of Java, is one of the places most frequently used by smugglers carrying human cargo to Australia.

Thousands of undocumented immigrants each year try to get to Australia on boats that are often in bad condition and overloaded, thus exposing themselves to the risk of sinking.

In one of the worst such accidents, about 50 people died in December 2010 when the boat they were traveling on sank after hitting the rocks off Christmas Island.