An asylum-seeker boat has reached Australia for the first time in nearly four years, the government said Monday, with many of those on board the Vietnamese vessel fleeing into a crocodile-infested mangrove rainforest after running aground near the coast.
Dozens of foreigners were believed to be on the run Monday in an Australian mangrove rainforest after their suspected illegal fishing boat ran aground in crocodile-infested waters.
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton said: "Australia, we believe, has received the first. people-smuggling venture in over 1,400 days".
Peter Ward, one of the fishermen, said he found the two men on the banks of the Daintree river-not far from where the boat ran aground, the Australian reported.
The abandoned fishing boat in the Daintree near Cape Kimberley in Queensland.
Locals said passengers from the rickety vessel disappeared into the dense forest near the Daintree River, north of popular tourist city Cairns, in the tropical far north of Queensland state on Sunday. We can confirm that a number of potential unlawful non-citizens have been located.
According to David White, a tour operator who has been guiding people through the Daintree River for 20 years, there is little risk of harm to the missing two who have fled-unless they enter the water.
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"We have thriving croc spotting operations all up and down the river", she told AAP on Monday.
"The unknown thing is did they actually end up going through the mangroves".
Australia has virtually stopped such boat arrivals by using the navy to turn them back and sending asylum seekers who arrive by ship to immigration camps on the poor Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
MP George Christensen called for better border protection in his home state after the news emerged.
Paramedics in Mossman treated two people in custody for fever and chills.
"Qld borders need to be made more secure (especially) given proximity of PNG & Indonesia, considering level of radical Islamism in Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines", he tweeted.
Mr Dutton said those detained will be "deported from our country at the first available opportunity", adding the boat's arrival showed people smuggling remains a concern for officials.
"I understand that 15 people are now detained on behalf of the Australian Border Force", Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan told reporters today.