Some 74 Rohingyas, who were en route to Malaysia illegally from Teknaf on a trawler with around 138 on board, were saved from drowning after one of them dialed the emergency helpline service 999.
The trawler capsized in the Bay of Bengal early Tuesday near Saint Martin's Island. Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far, while around 50 people are still missing.
"A man named Abdul called us on 999 and begged to save their lives. He informed that a total of 138 people were going to Malaysia illegally on a trawler, but the vessel was sinking after colliding with a stone," said Coastguard Station Commander of Teknaf Lt Commander Sohel Rana.
"Getting his call, two teams of Coast Guard and Navy reached the spot fast and started rescue operation. They found the sinking boat at 7am Tuesday. 71 people rescued were alive and 16 bodies were recovered from the spot," he added.
Abdul showed instant intelligence by calling the helpline. His call and rapid rescue operation by the Coast Guard and Navy have saved the lives of 74 people.
The operation is underway by the Coast Guard and Navy as nearly 50 Rohingyas are still missing.