Five feared dead as disabled vessel towed to safety


Reports that five suspected asylum seekers have drowned trying to reach Australia are “tragic”, the federal government says. Fifty-nine people were rescued yesterday near the Cocos Islands after their boat became disabled. Today they were taken ashore the Australian territory. But Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says the rescued passengers have reported five people went missing after leaving the vessel “several days ago before help arrived”. “If reports about five missing passengers are correct, this is a tragic and unnecessary loss of life, and highlights that these types of voyages are extremely dangerous,” Mr O’Connor said in a statement.