MUMBAI: The our bodies of 26 personnel on board Barge Papaa (P-305), which sunk amid the fury unleashed by Cyclone Tauktae, had been recovered from the Arabian Sea by Indian Navy warships engaged in search and rescue operations via Tuesday and Wednesday. The our bodies had been discovered floating 50 to 60 nautical miles (over 90km) off the Mumbai coast. Forty 9 crew members are nonetheless lacking, whereas 186 have been rescued.
A complete of 273 personnel had been earlier mentioned to have been on board, however the ONGC, which had deployed the barge, revised the depend to 261 on Wednesday. The search operations for the lacking 49 will proceed, officers mentioned.
5 Navy ships — INS Kochi, Kolkata, Beas, Betwa and Teg — P8I maritime surveillance plane, and Chetak and Sea King helicopters have been engaged within the search at sea which started on Monday, with 1,500-plus personnel pressed into service. The Navy mentioned it was nonetheless hopeful of discovering survivors.
The operation started after 4 vessels — two barges off Mumbai’s coast and a barge and drill vessel off Gujarat’s Pipavav port — went adrift. A complete of 638 individuals had been rescued by Tuesday night.
Navy officers mentioned INS Kochi reached Mumbai harbour on Wednesday with 4 our bodies and 125 survivors earlier than crusing again to hitch the rescue effort once more. INS Kolkata was to enter Mumbai harbour late Wednesday evening to disembark the opposite survivors and convey again the our bodies of the remainder of the victims, officers mentioned.
The 4 our bodies introduced again — of crew members Nilesh, Jamish Joseph, Amol Raj and Vishal Kardhare from Ratnagiri — had been taken to JJ Hospital for a panchnama. Police registered an unintended loss of life report, mentioned senior inspector Suhas Hemade.
Inspector Dinesh Sawant mentioned the deaths had been as a result of drowning and added that police had sought particulars from the barge firm (Afcons, belonging to the Shapoorji Pallonji group) of the deceased to tell their members of the family.
Commander Mehul Karnik, chief PRO, defence, advised TOI, “Aside from the 5 warships, INS Talwar has additionally been diverted for the SAR (search and rescue) operations. There are 9 plane and helicopters on the spot that may proceed the SAR until all members of the crew are positioned and rescued.”
All of the 4 vessels that had been stranded within the sea on Monday had been engaged in ONGC’s revamp of its unmanned offshore platforms off Bombay Excessive in collaboration with an Afcons-led consortium.
Aside from the personnel on P-305, there have been 137 personnel on board the barge GAL Constructor that ran aground off the Colaba coast, 220 on board barge Help Station-3, which drifted north-west off Pipavav port, and 101 (together with 38 ONGC workers) on board the drill vessel Drillship Sagar Bhushan, which too went adrift off Pipavav. All of the personnel on these different three vessels had been rescued on Tuesday and had been introduced again on shore, officers mentioned.
Two survivors of a tug, Varpradha, had been additionally rescued by the Navy. A supply within the Navy mentioned that whereas INS Kolkata was conducting its seek for P305 personnel, it discovered two survivors from the tug within the sea and rescued them. “The 2 survivors advised us there have been 13 individuals within the tug. They mentioned the 11 others might need drowned. The 2 had been in a position to climb on to the life raft,” sources mentioned.
TOI spoke to some survivors from P-305 who mentioned they’d a horrendous time within the sea waters and significantly doubted whether or not they would survive. One crew member mentioned, “Among the personnel had spoken to their households earlier than the barge sunk, and the households will need to have spent a harrowing time eager about their kin stranded within the waters and prayed for his or her security. We spent hours floating within the tough sea with gusty wind and dangerous climate. We’re praying for the protection of these nonetheless lacking.” Nevertheless, the crew member added, “Trying on the climate circumstances within the sea and the salinity of the water, it will be not straightforward to outlive for 50 hours.”
Afcons mentioned in an announcement, “We’re anguished and deeply distraught by the lack of lives and share within the grief of the bereaving family and friends members. Our rapid focus is to find and rescue the remaining lacking personnel as rapidly as attainable. The protection and well-being of our individuals are our topmost precedence, and we’re doing every part attainable to handle this unprecedented disaster. We all know nothing can ever compensate for the lack of a cherished one, however we are going to prolong our fullest help together with monetary help to the bereaved households on this hour of their want.”