A 35-year-old Sri Lankan man died suddenly just hours after arriving at Christmas Island’s asylum seeker processing centre on Wednesday night.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the man had been transferred to the island on Wednesday and was taken to the Phosphate Hill processing centre. He was transferred to the Christmas Island Public Hospital after telling staff he was unwell, but died soon after.
A DIAC spokeswoman said: ”It appears the man died of natural causes after having a cardiac arrest.”
Earlier, a spokesman said the matter had been refered to the Australian Federal Police, and the department would co-operate with any investigation.
“The department expresses its sympathy to the man’s family.” He said counsellors had been made available to assist and support the facility’s detainees and staff.
The news came after refugee advocate Leila Druery revealed a young asylum seeker who miscarried last month after being detained on Manus Island had blamed the loss of her baby on the stress of her detention.
The woman had been transferred to the mainland with five other pregant asylum seekers, but miscarried while she was detained at the Inverbrakie centre, which is used to house families.
The woman told Ms Druery doctors said her body could not handle the stress she was under. It is believed she had been in the early stages of pregnancy.
“Manus took my baby away,” she said.
Manus Island has high rates of malaria. A department spokeswoman would not comment on whether the woman was taking anti-malaria medication, which is considered unsafe for use by pregnant women.
“We can’t discuss it for privacy reasons. We can only say that she was taking adequate medication,” she said, adding that pregnant asylum seekers were given regular vitamin and mineral supplements to sustain a healthy pregnancy.