Melbourne: An asylum seekers' boat believed to have been mainly occupied by Afghans capsized on Wednesday en route to Australia's Christmas Island and 123 of them have been rescued, barely a week after another vessel sank in the same area claiming 90 lives.
The boat carrying up to 150 people, including women and children, capsized 107 nautical miles north of the Island and so far 123 people have been rescued in a major rescue operation launched after the incident, the Australian government said.
"As we speak, my best advice is 123 people have been rescued," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said at federal parliament, local media reported.
It is believed that the boat was mainly occupied by Afghans, and women and children were on board.
The incident comes just a week after another boat with around 200 people on board went down in the Indian Ocean as it made its way to Australia.
Authorities were considering the possibility that the vessel, which sank today, was carrying the wives and children of the men who were aboard the boat that capsized last week in the same area killing 90 people.
Asylum-seekers were in the water and clinging to their overturned Type 4 fishing vessel 107 nautical miles north of Christmas Island when the rescuers reached the spot.
Two merchant vessels, including a tug boat, are already on the scene and attempting to rescue the people.


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