NEW DELHI, May 18: At least 80 persons on board barge P305 are still reported missing late on Tuesday evening after the Indian Navy personnel managed to rescue 180 persons. The barge had sunk after going adrift in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai in the gale caused by the cyclone Tautkae on Monday, the Indian Navy said.
In the wake of the cyclone, Navy vessels, helicopters, tug boats, and rescue ships were pressed into service to evacuate over 500 people stuck on different barges in the high sea off the Mumbai coast. Rescue operations are still underway.
According to the latest information, a total of 182 people on-board Barge P305, which sunk after it went adrift in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, have been saved but nearly 80 people are still missing. Meanwhile, a total of 339 people onboard Gal Constructor and SS-3 are said to be rescued.
On receipt of a request for assistance for barge ‘P305’ adrift off Heera Oil Fields in Bombay High area with 273 personnel onboard, INS Kochi was dispatched to assess the situation and render assistance, as required.
The Navy said search and rescue operations for Barge P305 continued through the night by INS Kochi & INS Kolkata in extreme weather conditions and very rough seas. Offshore Support Vessel Energy Star and Great Ship Ahalya too joined the effort and 182 personnel were rescued so far in extremely challenging circumstances.
With high winds and rain continuing on Tuesday, the Indian Coast Guard pressed into service its helicopters to airlift the rescued persons from ship to the shore today morning and by 2 pm was able to airlift 55 of the marooned crew to shore.
The biggest cyclone to hit the region in recent times claimed lives in Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Apart from the Maharashtra deaths, another eight people died in Karnataka as Tautkae brushed past the southern state over the weekend.