Australia: Illegal boat runs into crocodile-infested waters

More than 20 illegal immigrants are on the run at Cape Kimberley just north of the Daintree River in Far North Queensland. Source 7NewsMore

More than 20 illegal immigrants are on the run at Cape Kimberley just north of the Daintree River in Far North Queensland. Source 7NewsMore

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, whose electorate covers the area where the boat arrived, dismissed the speculation and instead said he believed the crew were illegally fishing in the area when they ran into trouble.

The vessel was found yesterday in the vicinity of Daintree River, a mangrove estuary in Far North Queensland, the home affairs department said.

"We saw this boat and didn't think a lot of it really, then after the radio chatter (we heard) it was deserted and people were seen leaving it", Mr Patterson told ABC radio.

Dozens of foreigners were believed to be on the run Monday in an Australian mangrove rainforest after their suspected illegal fishing boat ran aground in crocodile-infested waters.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned there were 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to come to Australia. Media reports said they may be from Vietnam, although a marine rescue official told broadcaster ABC it was an Indonesian boat.

The exact circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear, but early reports suggest as many as 40 people may have been on board the boat when it started sinking.

They talked with the Vietnamese men, who barely spoke English, and later went crab fishing together, before the fishermen told the Vietnamese men they would be sent to authorities.

The vessel was found off Cape Kimberley near the Daintree River.

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One Nation senator Pauline Hanson appeared on Sunrise this morning, and suggested the boatload of people chose to embark on their voyage to Australia because of the leadership spill.

"This boat arrival falls squarely on the toes of PM Scott Morrison", he tweeted."Unlike the chaos and division interior the government that has put the safety of Australia's borders in bother, Labor is a united team."One Nation chief Pauline Hanson has speedy these on the boat might maybe maybe even have headed for Australia on story of ultimate week's management disaster".

There are warnings about crocodiles in the area near the Daintree River ferry crossing in far north Queensland.

Concerns for those still missing are largely focused on the region's large saltwater crocodile population.

A man is arrested by Queensland Police.

If the boat was carrying asylum-seekers, it would be the first time in four years that such a vessel has reached Australian shores.

"It's relatively easy to do; but most don't get far once landed due to the hostility and are soon detained or give themselves up quickly. Their asylum claims fail in the majority", he wrote.

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