Five asylum seekers on board a disabled vessel have died after they fled the boat and drowned. The remaining 59 passengers were rescued by the Russian merchant vessel Postojna on Saturday and have been transferred to the Cocos Islands. The Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor said this was a tragic and unnecessary loss of life and highlights the danger of such voyages. Rescued passengers will give statements in the coming days to help with the investigation into the deaths of these asylum seekers. The search and rescue operation has now been called off, as any chance of survivial is no longer a possiblity.