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Heather Chen, CNN
11 Indonesian fishermen have been rescued from a small island by Australian maritime authorities after they were stranded without food or drink for six days. However, there is concern that nine other Indonesians may have drowned.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reported that two fishing boats were completely destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Ilsa last week, which was one of the most powerful storms to have hit Western Australia for more than a decade.
The first group, consisting of 11 men, reached the shore of Bedwell Island. This is a remote stretch of sand located in Rowley Shoals about 300 km west of Broome, on the northwestern Australian coastline.
Deep-sea fishing is a popular activity in the area.
AMSA reported that the desperate men had survived for almost a week without food or drinking water before they were spotted by a Border Force aircraft (ABF) during a planned mission of surveillance. This led to the dispatch of a helicopter rescue.
AMSA reported that the second vessel, which was believed to be carrying at least ten others, was sunk by the storm.
One survivor swam for 30 hours before reaching Bedwell Island. AMSA has said that the nine remaining fishermen are believed to be dead.
AMSA released pictures of stranded fisherman waving at the helicopter rescue above. They were silhouetted against a white, barren beach. The stricken vessel was visible nearby.
CNN affiliate Nine News Australia reported the survivors were treated at Broome Hospital.
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