Dozens feared missing after asylum seekers' boat sinks off Indonesia

More than a hundred people have been rescued and three people died after a boat carrying asylum seekers sank on the way to Australia.

The boat, believed to be carrying roughly 175 Iranians and Sri Lankans, sank off the coast of the Indonesian island of Java.

It is unclear how many people are still missing.

"We don't know exactly how many were on board, so we're focusing on searching for any more that may be out there," Bandung search and rescue chief Rochmali told Agence France-Presse early Wednesday.

"We don't know where these people are from. We will just focus on ensuring they're well and making sure no one else is still at sea," he said.

Two young children, ages one and five, are reported to be among the dead.

More from GlobalPost: Australia to send 'boat people' to Papua New Guinea

The sinking comes on the heels of Australia's tough new immigration policy that would send all refugees arriving by boat to be processed and settled in nearby Papua New Guinea.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the new plan on Friday in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants to Australia's shores.

More than 15,000 asylum seekers crossed into Australia this year alone, with many making the long, dangerous journey from Indonesia by boat.

Rudd said that this latest accident highlighted the need for a policy shift, telling the BBC that the government had to send "a very clear message to people-smugglers to stop sending people by boat to Australia."

"We are seeing too many drownings, we are seeing too many sinkings, too many innocent people being lost at sea," Rudd said.