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Refugee Boat Carrying Afghans, Iranians Capsizes Off Australia

Australian authorities say one infant has died and eight other individuals are missing after an Indonesian fishing boat taking refugees to Australia capsized in the Indian Ocean.

Australian officials said on July 13 that 97 passengers were on board when the boat sank late the previous day near Christmas Island, off mainland Australia.

The island is a common destination for boats put to sea by people smugglers in Indonesia.

Australia's Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said 88 survivors from Afghanistan, Iran, and Sri Lanka were picked up by an Australian naval vessel and taken to Christmas Island.

Since 2007, more than 45,000 mostly Afghan and Middle Eastern asylum-seekers have made the passage and more than 1,000 have drowned.

People smuggling in Indonesia is illegal but authorities have been accused of being complicit in the trafficking.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP