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Many Suspected Asylum Seekers Feared Dead After Boat Sinks Off Australia

Many people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying suspected asylum seekers broke up after crashing into rocks amid rough seas on Australia's remote Christmas Island.

View Australia's Christmas Island in a larger map

Reports say around 40 people may have been rescued out of as many as 70 that may have been on board the boat, but no official confirmation was immediately available.

The nationalities of those on board the vessel have not been confirmed. An AFP news agency report says they are believed to include Iranians and Iraqis.

The Australian government operates an immigration detention center at Christmas Island, which is in the Indian Ocean off Australia's northwest.

compiled from agency reports