Over 120 Missing after Illegal Boat Bound for Malaysia Sinks

Dhaka: More than 120 people are still missing after an engine-boat departing from Sarbrang Village in Tekanf in southeastern Bangladesh carrying over 130 people headed for Malaysia sunk, according to local news reports and residents.

A local Muslim resident from Saint Martin also known as Coconut Island said no bodies of the missing people have been found in the sea.

“ It was just after the Eid Qurbani, the boat sunk in the sea five miles south of the Saint Martain Island. Only six people onboard survived and the remaining 126 people are still missing”, said the resident.

The boat is said to have departed from Sarbrang Village on the bank of the Naf River in Bangladesh, which is situated opposite Maungdaw in Burma. It suddenly sunk in the sea as it was old and could not bear the weight of the people onboard.

The resident said the Eid Qurbani was celebrated on the 27th of October and the boat illegally left for Malaysia the day after celebrating the Eid.

“ The Bangladesh navy has been searching for the missing people since the boat sunk, but no dead bodies have been found at sea or washes up on shore,” said a resident.

He said the people who were onboard were both from Bangladesh and Burma, and those from Burma were Muslims as well. But it is still not known whether those from Burma were new comers or had arrived in Bangladesh long ago.

The in-charge of Teknaf Police Station confirmed that the boat illegally bound for Malaysia sunk in the sea on Sunday without elaborating or giving any further details.

People from Bangladesh, who illegally leave for Malaysia to work, usually sail in rickety boats on the moonlit nights during this calm season between the end of the rainy season and the start of winter. There have been cases in which the people were killed because their boats sunk in the sea as well as cases where they have come to false destinations in India, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.