Migrant boat sinks off Indonesia's East Java

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Migrant boat sinks off Indonesia's East Java

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A boat carrying asylum seekers sunk off Indonesia’s East Java province on Sunday, leaving more than 200 people missing, presumed dead.

The overcrowded boat capsized in rough seas 30 from the coast.

Survivors said they were fleeing persecution in their home countries.

“We were about 250 passengers, from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, some from Turkey and some from Saudi Arabia. We were supposed to go from Indonesia, from Jakarta to Australia,” one male passenger told reporters.

Indonesian authorities have given conflicting accounts of the number of people missing and the possible casualty toll.

Police said that at least 33 asylum seekers had been rescued from the water.

But rescue workers said there were 380 passengers onboard the boat and that as many as 76 had been saved.

Indonesia is often a transit point for migrants in search of a better life in Australia.