At least 14 people drowned and dozens more were unaccounted for after a boat carrying Rohingya refugees sank off southern Bangladesh early Tuesday, officials said.
Some 130 people were packed on the fishing trawler that was trying to get across the Bay of Bengal to Malaysia, coast guard spokesman Hamidul Islam told AFP. Seventy of them had so far been rescued.
Many of the 700,000-plus Rohingya who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017 have tried to leave overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district on boats headed for Malaysia.
Islam said the boat was one of two vessels that was making the hazardous journey.
“We have found one capsized boat. All of them were mainly from the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. We haven’t found any sign of the second boat yet. We will continue our operation,” Islam said.
“So far we have recovered 14 bodies and 70 people alive,” coast guard commander Naim ul Haq told AFP, adding that navy and coast guard boats were searching near St. Martin’s island.
“They were lured by traffickers,” border guard commander Faisal Hasan Khan said.