Barge P-305 tragedy: 43 bodies identified

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Mumbai, May 22 (PTI) As many as 43 of the 61 bodies of victims of the P-305 barge tragedy in the Arabian Sea have been identified so far and 41 bodies handed over to the relatives, Mumbai Police said on Saturday.

The police also sent 30 samples for DNA testing to identify some of the bodies.

Barge P-305, which housed personnel engaged in maintenance work for an offshore oil drilling platform of state-run ONGC, sank on Monday evening off the Mumbai coast as cyclone Tauktae blew past towards Gujarat.

The Navy has handed over 61 bodies of victims to the city police.

'We handed over the bodies of 41 victims to their families. The identity of 18 victims is yet to be established. Two bodies have been identified but not handed over to the kin yet,' a police official said.

As some bodies were in decomposed state or had deep injuries, blood samples of victims and relatives were sent for DNA testing to the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina here to ascertain or confirm the identity, he added.

RT-PCR tests were also conducted to ascertain whether the deceased had COVID-19, he said.

Meanwhile, four bodies were on Saturday found on the coast in Gujarat's Valsad district with the local police suspecting that they could be some of the missing victims of the barge P-305.

A Navy spokesperson said the death toll in the P-305 tragedy rose to 66 with the recovery of six more bodies during the day, while nine personnel are still missing. Of 261 personnel onboard the barge, 186 were rescued. PTI DC NP KRK KRK