Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Overcrowded boat capsizes with Burmese passengers

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:59 Mizzima News

A motorboat with 137 people believed to be from Burma on board has capsized in the Bay of Bengal near Shah Porir Island in Teknaf close to Bangladesh's southeastern border with Burma, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

Bangladeshi Border Guard personnel keep watch at a wharf in Taknaf in June 2012, following violent clashes in neighbouring Burma. Bangladeshi border guards have been turning back boats transporting Rohingya Muslims fleeing the most recent violence. Photo: AFP

Authorities said six people were able to swim to shore sometime on Sunday, leaving an unknown number of people missing, officials said on Tuesday. Reports from the area were sketchy.

Lieutenant Colonel Zahid Hasan, the commanding officer of the 42nd Battalion of the Border Guard of Bangladesh, told Xinhua said the boat capsized “with 137 passengers who were going to Malaysia illegally in quest for a better life.”

Hasan said, "So far we've information about the sunken boat's six passengers who managed to swim ashore after it capsized about 50 nautical miles southwest of Shah Porir Island in Teknaf under Bangladesh's Cox's Bazaar district.

He said the boat sank in 100 to 120 feet of water.

International governments have asked Bangladesh to open its border to Muslim Rohingya who have tried to flee from sectarian violence which has wracked Rakhine State in Burma this week.

Bangladesh authorities have refused and turn back fleeing refugees.

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