According to governmental officials, "about 50 people" are believed to have died after a crowded ferry capsized off the western coast of Myanmar Friday night. AFP News reports that the bodies of four men and 29 women have been recovered so far, with at least 12 people still missing.

"We suspect that the boat sank because it was overloaded with goods," a police officer told the news agency.

169 of the ferry's registered 214 passengers were rescued successfully, but local sources estimate nearly 100 more were onboard without official tickets.

According to the Associated Press, such disasters have become troubling common in the area after sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims displaced as many as 140,000 people in 2012:

In recent years, Rakhine state has been the departure point for thousands of desperate Rohingya Muslims, who crowd on to small and dangerously overcrowded boats to escape persecution, often aiming for Thailand and Malaysia. [...]

Referred to by the government as Bengali, they are largely seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even if many can trace their ancestry in the country back for generations.

In October, Rohingya rights group the Arakan Project estimated that 100,000 people have fled the area by boat in the last three years.

[Image via AP Images]