Five of the boat people injured in yesterday\’s explosion are on life support in a Darwin hospital, with doctors fearing for the lives of two of them.
Three asylum seekers injured in a boat explosion have undergone surgery by world-renowned burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood at Royal Perth Hospital.
Dr Wood pioneered a “spray-on skin” for use on burns patients which was used on victims of the Bali bombings in 2002, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. In 2007 Dr Wood went to Indonesia to assist with the emergency care of airplane crash victims of the Yogyakarta air disaster.
The Perth doctor and mother of six was named Australian of the Year in 2005.
A further two patients, understood to be in a serious condition arrived at RPH just before 8am (WST).
The two arrived in separate ambulances with a police escort and were taken through the emergency department entrance shielded by yellow screens.
One patient will remain in Broome for treatment but is expected to be transferred to Perth on Friday afternoon.
A police spokesman said up to 10 ambulances would travel in convoy under police escort from the Perth International Airport to RPH when the military aircraft landed.
Some of the ambulances would travel independently under priority condition.
Boat explosion investigations to begin immediately
Meanwhile, incident commander in Darwin Matt Hollander says the investigation into the explosion aboard a boat carrying 47 asylum seekers off northern Australia will be lengthy.
Commander Hollander said the arrival of a navy patrol boat carrying 13 of the asylum seekers, which was to arrive in Darwin harbour later today, would be the start of the investigation.
The 13 aboard HMAS Albany were only slightly injured, or had no injuries, Commander Hollander said. The Australian sailors who received minor injuries also were on board as well as at least two of the bodies of three people killed in the explosion.
A search was continuing on Friday for two others missing after the explosion.
RAAF aircraft continue evacuation of injured
Defence says RAAF transport aircraft will continue evacuating those injured in the asylum seeker boat disaster.
Defence has so far deployed patrol boats – the HMAS Albany and HMAS Glenelg – and two C-130 Hercules and two C-17A Globemaster aircraft, as well as aero-medical evacuation health professionals to assist with the incident.
Defence said it provided medical staff to the initial emergency response team dispatched to meet the injured people at Truscott Airfield, in northwest Western Australia.
Medical supplies were delivered to the ships by RAAF aircraft and HMAS Glenelg delivered medical staff and supplies to HMAS Albany overnight.
“Due to the remote location and limited facilities at Truscott Airfield, a temporary restricted area has been established around the airfield to ensure air operations in support of the evacuation of injured personal is guaranteed the highest priority,” Defence said.
Boat blast cause \’won\’t be known for some time\’
Immigration Minister Chris Evans says the cause of a deadly explosion on a boat carrying asylum seekers off northwest Australia is unlikely to be known for some time.
“We\’re not going to know that for some time,” he told ABC Radio.
“One thing we learnt from the children overboard affair is that politicians shouldn\’t be making claims about the things they don\’t know.”
“I think it would be wise if everyone stopped pretending they knew.”