Dhaka – Rescuers retrieved eight bodies after a boat carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar capsized in Naf river on Monday, police said.
The boat sank near Shah Porir Dwip, the southern-most tip of Bangladesh, at around 3.30 am as the persecuted Rohingya Muslims attempting to cross the river into Bangladesh for safety, officer Saidur Rahman said.
Bangladeshi coastguards along local residents found bodies of four children and four women from the river that separated Bangladesh from Myanmar.
The rescuers also found 21 people alive in the river and helped them come ashore. Many others are believed to have gone missing, the officer said.
Nurul Alam, an official at local government department, said the survivors informed that the boat was carrying at least 65 passengers when it sank.
A rescue operation was on going, he said fearing that the death toll from the mishap may go up.
An estimated 537,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh since the Myanmar army launched an anti-insurgency crackdown just over seven weeks ago in Rakhine state, according to International Migration Agency.
Nearly 180 Rohingya have drowned while trying to cross the border over the Naf river since the violence began on August 25.
The influx of Rohingya continues as civilians who crossed the border say Burmese military and radical Buddhist vigilantes killed many Muslims and burnt their homes down. They said they were forced to leave their homed in Rakhine.