Boat capsizes
Representational image. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Bangkok: A boat carrying minority Rohingya migrants from Myanmar has capsized in the Bay of Bengal, leaving at least 17 people dead and about 30 missing, a rescue official said Thursday.

About 55 people were on the boat when it left Buthidaung township in the western state of Rakhine last weekend, said Byar La, general secretary of Shwe Yaung Metta Foundation.

Eight people survived the weekend accident in the sea near Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, he said. The boat was headed for Malaysia and the exact time and cause of the capsizing were unknown, he said.

Byar La said 17 bodies, including 10 women, were recovered along the shore in Sittwe, about 335 kilometers (210 miles) west of the national capital, Naypyitaw, between Monday and Wednesday.

The eight survivors were taken away by Myanmar's security forces, he said.

Members of rescue teams and the authorities were continuing to search for the missing people, he said.

Rakhine state Attorney General Hla Thein said bodies had been found on the shore since Monday but the exact number and other details were not yet known.

“I only heard that the boat had left illegally and capsized in the Bay of Bengal,” Hla Thein said by phone.