POSTED: Friday, October 19, 2012 - 6:59am
UPDATED: Friday, October 19, 2012 - 7:05am
NBC News — Migrants hoping for asylum in Australia hijacked a Sri Lankan fishing boat and threw its crew into the open sea, according to a survivor. Two fishermen said they floated for hours before finally being rescued by merchant ships off southwest Sri Lanka thursday. Both were admitted to a local hospital for cuts and other injuries. Three other crew members and the hijacked vessel have not been found. One of the survivors said the leader of the boat collaborated with the attackers and discussed plans to set sail for Australia.
Later they beat up the crew and threw them into the open sea. Residents of a Sri Lankan fishing village protested the hijacking and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. Police said four people who allegedly helped plan the hijacking have been arrested. Sri Lanka's navy has arrested hundreds of people traveling illegally to Australia in recent months. Australia has struggled to stop the flow of refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Iran and Sri Lanka.