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November 16, 2012
An asylum seeker says he clung to a rubber tube and drifted helplessly for three days before rescue as the sole survivor of a boat that sank en route to Christmas Island.
Habib Ullah, 22, of Karachi, said he was among 34 Hazara from Afghanistan and Pakistan aboard a rickety boat that left Indonesia on October 26.
Speaking from Jakarta’s Kuningan Detention Centre, an emotional Mr Ullah said the engine failed and the boat started taking on water in treacherous conditions after about one-third of the voyage.
He described the horror of watching friends, many who could not swim, drown around him as he clung to the tube he took aboard with him.
“One by one they were drowning before my eyes,” he said. “I could not do anything but watch. I witnessed about 18 to 20 people drown.”
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