Asylum-seeker recalls horror of deadly Indonesian boat sinking
By Muhammed Abdan Syakuron ,AFPCIKOLE, Indonesia -- A Lebanese asylum-seeker described Saturday how she lost two children and her husband when their Australia-bound boat sank off Indonesia, leaving at least 22 dead and scores missing.
September 29, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Nazime Bakour, 32, groaned in pain when asked how she felt about her loss, fighting back tears as her eight-year-old son, the only other survivor in her family, slept beside her in a medical center in the south of Indonesia's main Java island.
“I happy he is alive. My husband and two (other) children dead. They three and seven (years old),” Bakour, wearing an Islamic headscarf and a long green robe, told AFP in broken English.
“I have to swim. My husband swim very well, but the boat break and hit his head,” she said, recalling the boat being struck by a massive wave and breaking into pieces.
She saw her surviving son in the water and managed to grab him before they were rescued by fishermen.
Friday's tragedy was the first deadly asylum boat accident since Tony Abbott became Australia's prime minister earlier this month.
It came just days ahead of his first state visit to Indonesia, where his tough boatpeople deterrence policies are likely to be the focus of talks.
Twenty-eight people have been plucked to safety but around 70 — including many children — are still unaccounted for after the boat carrying people from Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen went down off Java, police said.
One Lebanese man escaped from the sinking boat by swimming to an island — but he believes his eight children and pregnant wife were killed, an official in Lebanon said.
The estimated 120 asylum-seekers on board were at sea for five days, Bakour said, before their food and water supplies ran out.
It was only then the two Indonesian crew admitted they were lost and decided to turn back to Java, from where they had departed.