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DHAKA: Bangladeshi fishermen in the Bay of Bengal were asked yesterday to search for about 130 people missing after a boat sank while carrying Rohingya refugees heading for Malaysia.
The boat went down off the coast near Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar and about 13 passengers were reported to have survived, according to police and a Rohingya advocacy group.
“Thousands of boats go out to sea for fishing every day. We have asked them to watch out for bodies,” Lieutenant Badruddoza, a coastguard commander in Teknaf on the southeast tip of Bangladesh, told the reporters.
“The desperate families of the missing passengers have also been searching for bodies,” he added.
Badruddoza, who only uses one name, said no sign of any wreckage or bodies had been found, and no coastguard rescue operation could be launched because the location of the sinking was not known.
One survivor being held by Bangladesh police told officers that the boat had 135 passengers on board and was heading south towards Malaysia.