Rescue workers have recovered the bodies of three Rohingya women after a trawler illegally ferrying refugees to Malaysia sank off the coast of Cox's Bazar's Teknaf.
The trawler capsized on Tuesday and the bodies were found near Baharchhara Union’s Harmunia area around 12:45 pm, according to Commander Md Delwar Hossain, commander of the Coast Guard's Baharchhara Outpost.
Coast guards rescued as many as 45 people, including eight Rohingya women and four Bangladeshi nationals, until the afternoon.
Residents of Harmunia noticed a few Rohingya swimming to shore at dawn and alerted the authorities, according to Delwar.
Coast Guard personnel subsequently went to their aid and initially rescued 30 Rohingya. Fifteen others were later pulled out of the sea.
However, the authorities could not confirm how many Rohingya were making the voyage.
After the vessel sank, the survivors just kept floating as their pleas for help to nearby fishing trawlers and boats went unheeded, the coast guard commander said.
“Later, many of the Rohingya swam ashore with the help of the buoys and water barrels thrown by fishermen. Many are still floating on the sea," Delwar said, adding that he feared more deaths.
Asked whether the four Bangladeshi survivors were traffickers, he said, "That may well be the case. We are trying to verify their identities."