Indonesian search for missing boat hampered

An Indonesian official says search efforts for a boat that reportedly issued a distress call have been hampered by a lack of information pinpointing the vessel's location.

National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Didi Hamzar said Saturday that Australian authorities reported a boat carrying about 72 asylum seekers had signaled it was in trouble. Unclear coordinates combined with the Sunda Strait's vast area has made the search difficult.

A spokeswoman from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it is not involved in search efforts. Indonesian officials had earlier said 14 Afghan asylum seekers were rescued by fishermen, but their exact role and connection to the missing boat remains unclear amid conflicting reports. Indonesia is a transit point for asylum seekers hoping to reach Australia.

United News of Bangladesh