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Asylum seeker fears friends died in tragedy

Asylum seeker fears friends died in tragedy

Wed June 27, 2012 2:03am

SHE stares out from behind the fence, worry in her eyes that her relatives are among the dead from last week's capsizing.

The Iranian woman, who made the perilous boat journey from Indonesia to Australia, is worried her friends or relatives are among the dead from last week's asylum seeker vessel capsizing.

"We're so sad - we don't know who they are," the 28-year-old woman who did not want to be named said.

"We're very worried it might be our friends - we're very worried about them and about everyone who comes this way."

Describing her fear during the three-day voyage with her brother, she added: "This way is very dangerous."

"We were very scared," she said through the fence of the Christmas Island compound which also houses babies, children and a pregnant Afghan woman.

Teenage boys escaping persecution in Afghanistan and Pakistan are likely to form a large number of the 90-odd asylum seekers who died last week, as police move to identify at least three of the 17 bodies recovered.

A further 110 were rescued after their dangerously overloaded vessel overturned in Indonesian waters north of Christmas Island. An increasing number of anxious relatives from around the world are trying to contact Australian authorities for information.

Afghan man Raiz Hussain, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, fears his 25-year-old brother was on the boat and may be dead. Mr Hussain said his brother had been living in Indonesia for 18 months and wanted to get on a boat to Australia. He said he had been unable to contact his brother since the disaster.

"Sometimes he was calling from Indonesia and told us he wanted to go to Australia. Now his phone is off," he added.

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