A vessel carrying Rohingya refugees capsized in the Bay of Bengal Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, Bangladeshi authorities told CNN.
The wooden fishing boat carrying 130 Rohingya capsized near Saint Martin’s Island. Captain Waseem Maqsood, coastguard commander in the Chittagong division, told CNN that 71 people were rescued alive, while more than 40 people are still unaccounted for.
A coastguard vessel, two navy ships and dive teams are currently trying to find the remaining passengers.
Maqsood said the authorities received an emergency call early Tuesday morning local time but that the limited information available on the boat’s location had made it difficult to find.
Bangladeshi authorities believe the boat departed from Teknaf, an administrative region of Cox’s Bazar, the southerly region of Bangladesh on the Myanmar border to which hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to in recent years. Most still live in a refugee camp, the largest in the world, in Cox’s Bazar, though some have attempted to go overseas.
“I don’t know where it was heading,” Maqsood said. “We couldn’t look for that yet. We are focusing on the rescue operation at the moment. The police authorities are also there, they are investigating.”