Asylum seeker search suspended

A vessel off Christmas Island.
A vessel off Christmas Island.

Authorities have ended the search for a group of asylum seekers missing at sea after their boat started sinking north of Christmas Island.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the search and rescue operation was suspended at 9.56pm (AEST) on Saturday.

"This decision was made based on the high probability that anyone alive would have been found during the day and on medical advice on survivability," AMSA said in a statement on Sunday.

A baby died and eight people were unaccounted for after the boat began taking on water about 107 nautical miles north of Christmas Island.

About 2.20am on Saturday, Customs reported it had rescued 88 people and recovered the body of a baby boy, who's believed to have been under one-year-old.

Authorities were alerted on Friday morning about the sinking boat.

The asylum seekers, from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, have been taken to Christmas Island.

- AAP

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