An overloaded fishing trawler carrying dozens of passengers, who were on their way to Malaysia illegally, sank in the Bay of Bengal early on Thursday, raising the concern that traffickers were still active in the southern coastal region despite some recent attempts to curb it.
At least 39 people were recovered from waters by coast guard after the boat capsized off Kutubdia island in the Bay of Bengal, said local coast guard official Tareq Mostafa.
It was not exactly clear how many passengers were on board during the accident but local officials said, quoting survivors, that it would not be more than 60.
Survivors said they were picked up from at least four points by the traffickers along the Karnaphuli river in Chittagong on the way to southern coastal district of Cox’s Bazar. Thirty-one passengers were recovered from waters near Kutubdia island when eight others were rescued from near Moheshkhali island, said Ruhul Amin, deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar district. Both the areas are under Cox’s Bazar.
Shohidul Islam, another coast guard official, said they were not immediately clear why the boat sank but from primary information from the survivors indicated that it was overloaded.