Dramatic new video shows the last moments of men, women, and children as their boat smashes against cliffs near Christmas Island.
New video aired on Australian TV Thursday reveals the desperate last moments of dozens of men, women and children.
This footage shows the asylum seekers sitting helplessly on board a small fishing boat, as 12-foot swells push them toward jagged cliffs off the coast of Christmas Island.
And here, as onlookers watch helplessly, the wooden vessel smashes against the rocks, and disintegrates.
At least 28 people died, and more than 40 were rescued.
One eyewitness says it was impossible to do anything for the passengers -- but what he saw he will never forget.
"The gut response was to seeing people drowning and dying was to dive in and try to save them but to do that would have been suicide. Scarred for life, what can I say. Pretty much haunted by a few visions, I have got some very disturbing imagery in my head."
Police said most of the passengers on the boat were Iraqis.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also indicated the death toll could rise, as around 100 people are believed to have been on board.
Travis Brecher, Reuters