The West

Asylum boat spotted before Geraldton
Asylum boat 'spotted before Geraldton'

A boat carrying 66 asylum seekers was spotted off the coast near Kalbarri before it eventually sailed into Geraldton on Tuesday, it has been claimed.

Retired crayfisherman Terry Ash says his grandchildren at Red Bluff near Kalbarri, about 160km north of Geraldton, saw what they called a "refugee boat" on Monday afternoon.

Mr Ash told ABC radio this afternoon that early the next morning after the Red Bluff sighting a crayfisherman at Horrocks, further down the coast, "nearly cleaned it up because it had no lights on".

"Several hours later my nepehew saw it south west of Horrocks and it was making its way to Geraldton.

"Anyone that is aware of the coastline, there are plenty of little places where you could go and offload people onto the beach. If that had happened we would still be looking for them."

Mr Ash said there was a heavy swell at the time.

"There has been a fair bit of swell this week. To the inexperienced person looking at the entrance to Kalbarri on Monday and Tuesday you'd turn around and go back out," Mr Ash told ABC Radio.

The ABC reports that those who saw it at Kalbarri thought it was trying to navigate in through the mouth of the river.

Mr Ash said he was not aware if anyone notified authorities.

He said some people thought it looked like a trawler.

"But if you saw it in the daylight I'm sure someone would have said something."

The West Australian

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