Australians find bodies of suspected migrants, search for survivors
Overcrowded boats carrying people aiming to get to Australia often set sail from Indonesia or Sri Lanka, heading for Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island, off the northwest coast.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority spotted the submerged hull late on Friday and it was coordinating the search and rescue effort, the Customs and Border Protection Service said in a statement.
Rescue aircraft and vessels spotted the nine bodies about 65 nautical miles (120 km) northwest of Christmas Island. It was not known how many people had been on board the boat.
Although Australia gets a small number of the world's asylum seekers each year, the issue is a controversial one with the public.
Opinion polls put the opposition conservatives on track to easily win a Sept. 14 general election, boosted in part by a promise to step up border security.
Since 2001, almost 1,000 people are believed to have died in accidents at sea while attempting to reach Australia. — Reuters