(Sydney) Eleven Indonesian fishermen stranded on an Australian coral reef without food for six days have been rescued and are receiving medical treatment, Australian officials said on Wednesday.
Ten people have been shipwrecked off Bedwell Island, 300km west of the coastal town of Broome in northwest Australia. While fishing in the Indian Ocean, their boat was hit by a powerful tropical cyclone.
An eleventh fisherman from another vessel also came ashore after being submerged for 30 hours. Authorities fear that all nine of his crew may have drowned when his boat capsized.
According to photos released by the Australian Maritime Safety Commission, the stranded fishermen salvaged what they could from their nearby beach boat and set up a makeshift camp on the beach.
The fishermen were airlifted off the island on Monday evening, thanks to an Australian Border Force reconnaissance aircraft and a rescue helicopter sent to the scene.
Officials said they are currently receiving medical treatment on land in Australia and will return to Indonesia once they recover.
“Upon arrival on the mainland, the individuals received appropriate medical care and support,” the Australian Maritime Safety Commission said in a statement.
Isolated and inhospitable, Bedwell Island is essentially a stretch of white sand with no natural shelter or source of fresh water.
Tropical Cyclone Ilsa made landfall in Western Australia on Friday, bringing unprecedented winds to coastal parts of the country at times.
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