Bangladesh boat carrying migrants sinks, many missing

Wed Nov 7, 2012 8:22am EST
 
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TEKNAF, Bangladesh (Reuters) - A boat carrying about 110 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from neighboring Myanmar sank in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday as they were heading to Malaysia and about half of them were missing, a Bangladeshi border force officer said.

The boat went down in rough seas off Teknaf, the country's southernmost town, on the Bay of Bengal, Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Jahid of the border guards force said.

"So far, 51 people have been rescued by coast guard, fishing boats and the border force's sea patrols," he told Reuters.

Jahid said search operations were proceeding for the others. No bodies had been recovered yet.

"We were heading to Malaysia for jobs but the boat suddenly went upside down and sank," survivor Jamir Hossain told Reuters.

"I floated for several hours before a fishing boat picked me up."

It was the second such accident in 10 days. A boat carrying about 130 people sank off Myanmar on October 28 and only a handful of people were rescued, Jahid said.

Another survivor of Wednesday's sinking, Nazir Ahmed, said the boat was crammed with people, most of whom had no travel documents and had each paid 22,000 taka ($270) for the journey to Malaysia.

"The boat was over-laden," Ahmed said.   Continued...

 
Members of Bangladesh Navy are seen with people rescued from a sunken boat in Bay of Bengal in Teknaf November 7, 2012. A boat carrying about 110 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from neighbouring Myanmar sank in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday as they were heading to Malaysia and about half of them were missing, a Bangladeshi border force officer said. REUTERS/Stringer