Officials in Bangladesh say more than 100 fisherman are missing after a severe storm hit the country's southern coast.

Authorities in the coastal Barguna district said Saturday the men were aboard at least 12 fishing boats in the Bay of Bengal when the unexpected storm brought high winds and strong waves.

Surviving fishermen said they witnessed several boats sink. About 50 fishermen managed to swim ashore or were rescued by other trawlers.

Maritime officials say coast guard patrol boats are continuing their search for the missing vessels and crew members.

The local port authority has issued a maritime alert for all ships traveling near the port of Chittagong.

Weather officials say the storm is moving west toward India's Orissa state.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.