At least 70 people were missing in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday after a boat crowded with undocumented migrants who had set sail for Malaysia capsized, officials said.

Some 55 passengers were rescued by coastguards, the navy and local fishermen.

Risky and illegal voyages from Bangladeshi to Malaysia are frequent, as poor Bangladeshi workers are lured by the prospects of better jobs.

The boat capsized some 15 kilometres off the coast, said Lieutenant Colonel Zahid Hasan of Bangladesh’s border force.

Mr. Hasan said the passengers began their voyage from Bangladesh’s southern tip of Teknaf sometime on Tuesday, and the boat overturned on Wednesday due to overcrowding.

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