An asylum seeker who was on the boat that sank off Indonesia last week has described the horror of seeing bodies floating in the water around him as he waited to be rescued.
Adnan Hussain told _The West Australian _yesterday water started flooding the engine room about 4.30am last Thursday.
"Everybody started screaming when the boat started to sink and we started to pray," Mr Hussain said.
The 26-year-old, who was speaking by phone through an interpreter from the Perth Immigration Detention Centre, said he still felt crippled by the shock of seeing bodies in the water around him.
"It was really upsetting because I had been introduced to these people in Indonesia.
"I was seeing death right in front of me and I was really scared."
Mr Hussain said they were in the water for about 15 hours - some clung to the hull while others bobbed around in their lifejackets - before they were rescued.
"I didn't think I would survive but I think because of God we were saved."
Mr Hussain was one three injured asylum seekers - including one man who was unconscious and another with suspected spinal injuries - flown by Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth on Friday.
He has since been transferred to the Perth Immigration Detention Centre.
Mr Hussain said he wanted to thank the Australian navy and the two merchant vessels who went to their aid.
"I am thankful to them and thankful to God that they saved me."
Mr Hussain, who is from Parachinar in Pakistan, said he was forced to flee his home because the Taliban had threatened to kill him.
"They sent a warning letter to me to join their fight or they would kill me," he said, adding that he felt he had no choice but to try get to Australia by boat. He pleaded with the Australian Government to increase its intake of asylum seekers from Pakistan. His wife, his 10-month-old baby boy and his parents are still in Parachinar.
Mr Hussain told of how his father, a labourer, sold property to raise the $5000 needed to pay the people smuggler.
"I don't know who I should blame.," he said. "I don't know if I should blame the captain or the crew members, or the one who made the boat or should I blame ourselves that the boat was very small and that there were so many of us sitting on the boat?"It is hard to trust you pay your money and think you are in safe hands but you are not."
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