Indonesian fishermen rescued off the Australian coast after six days without food and water

Sydney, Australia (CNN) Australian maritime authorities have rescued 11 Indonesian fishermen from a small island after they were stranded for six days without food or water, but there are fears that another nine may have drowned.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said two fishing boats were destroyed last week by Tropical Cyclone Elsa, one of the strongest storms to hit Western Australia in more than a decade.

The first group of 11 men swam ashore on remote Bidwell Island, a stretch of sand at Rowley Shoals, 300 kilometers west of Broome on Australia’s northwest coast.

The area is popular for deep sea fishing.

The desperate men had been surviving without food or water for about a week before an Australian Border Force (ABF) aircraft spotted them during a planned surveillance mission, prompting the dispatch of a rescue helicopter, the agency said.

The agency said the second ship, which is believed to have been carrying at least 10 others, sank in the powerful storm.

One of the survivors spent 30 hours in the water before reaching Bidwill Island. He feared that the remaining nine Hunters were dead.

Images released by AMSA showed a group of stranded fishermen waving a rescue helicopter above, silhouetted against a barren white beach. Their stricken ship can be seen nearby.

CNN’s Nine News Australia reported that the survivors were taken to Broome Hospital for treatment.

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