About 50 people have died in the sinking of an overloaded ferry off the coast of western Myanmar police say. Rescuers have been frantically searching for survivors
The boat had 209 people on board when it ran into high seas late on Friday on a voyage from the coastal town of Taunggok to Sittwe, capital of the west coast state of Rakhine, officials said.
The "Aung Takon 3" went down after leaving the town of Kyaukphyu on its way to Sittwe in western Rakhine state, police said. The country's navy deployed three boats for the search-and-rescue mission.
Pyay Nyein, a senior official with the Inland Water Transport Department, said 167 people had been saved, but the rest were either dead or missing and believed to be dead.
"Twenty bodies have been found while 27 are still missing. Rescue workers are looking for them," said Nyein.
Residents in Taunggok, from where the boat embarked, said they believed the death toll was likely higher, as ferries are often crowded with unregistered passengers.
"Normally, the number of tickets sold is not reliable when it comes to the number of passengers. That's very common," said a Taunggok merchant who declined to be identified.
Many Myanmar citizens living along the nation's lengthy coastline and flood-prone river systems rely heavily on poorly maintained ferries for transportation.