Christmas Island Churces Mourn Refugee Boat Victims

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And on Australia's Christmas Island, church services for the victims of a boat tragedy last week which claimed the lives of over 30 refugees. Congregations across the island prayed for those that had perished.

Residents of this small community on Australia's Christmas Island gathered at local churches on Sunday.

The congregations are praying for at least 30 refugees who died last week, when their small wooden boat was caught in huge swells and smashed into rocks.

More than 40 people were rescued, but authorities say they may never be able to find out how many more were on board the boat.

[Gavin Ryan, Police Officer]:
"To this point approximately half of the deceased have been visually and formally identified."

Australia's worst boat people tragedy was in 2001 when 353 asylum seekers drowned in the Indian Ocean.