Many of those on board the rickety Vietnamese vessel, the first to reach the country in nearly four years, then fled into a mangrove rainforest near the Daintree River in the tropical far north of Queensland state. It said those detained were well dressed and in good health.
A boat carrying Vietnamese migrants ran aground in western Australia, and up to 30 migrants are believed to be hiding in a crocodile-infested rain forest, officials said.
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.
They are continuing the search for others on the vessel assisted by Queensland police and 10 State Emergency Service (SES) crews, while two boat crews searched the mouth of the river.
A boat that ran aground in far north Queensland is the first people-smuggling operation to reach the Australian coast in nearly four years, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu says the area is home to a healthy population of saltwater crocodiles, and anyone who may have fled through mangroves could be in danger.
A man is arrested by Queensland Police.
Justin Ward and Barry Preston were waved down by the pair as they passed in their boat while crabbing.
"We saw this boat and didn't think a lot of it really, then after the radio chatter (we heard) it was deserted and people were seen leaving it".
"We will work with the agencies to make sure we can repatriate these people back to their country of origin, once we understand the facts of the matter".
Australia has previously sent all asylum seekers who arrive by boat to offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.
Dutton did not confirm how many passengers were on board or their nationalities.
Seven said those found were Indonesian, while The Australian said they were believed to be Vietnamese, adding that up to 40 people were believed to have been on-board the vessel.
It is yet to be confirmed by the Department of Home Affairs whether those on board were seeking asylum in Australia or if the fishing vessel was in the area for another reason.
"The people-smugglers. will not succeed in putting people on to boats to get to Australia".
About 15 members of the sunken fishing trawler are already on their way back to Vietnam, with Border Force questioning the two men caught today over their involvement in a possible people smuggling network.