Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 19 (ANI): As many as 186 survivors rescued and 26 bodies have been recovered from barge P305 which sank in the Arabian Sea 35 nautical miles from Mumbai under the impact of cyclone Tauktae, informed the Indian Navy on Wednesday.
The search and rescue operation for the missing is underway.
The navy also rescued two more persons from a tugboat, Varaprada which went adrift in the Arabian Sea due to the cyclonic storm.
The people on board two other barges and an oil rig are also safe, said navy personnel.
On Wednesday morning, the Indian Navy Ship Kochi reached Mumbai carrying 22 bodies and 125 of the 186 survivors of barge P305.
The PRO of Defence Mumbai said that INS Teg, INS Betwa, INS Beas P8I aircraft and Seeking Helos are continuing with search and rescue operation for the personnel from Barge P305.
"Operations can be challenging but our work is to ensure that we prepare for the contingency. We have been able to save another 300 lives at sea. Two other vessels were in distress, they were about to abandon ship and we assured them support," Commodore Manoj Jha, who led rescue operations off Mumbai coast, said.
"The rescue operations continue. Our ships and aircraft are at work. Not only the Navy but also Coast Guard, ONGC ships are working. It is a joint operation," he added.
Amit Kumar Kushwaha, who was rescued from Barge P305, said, "The Barge was sinking, so I had to jump into the sea. I was in the sea for 11 hours. After that the Navy rescued us."
Meanwhile, all crew of MV Denali which anchored off near Tarapur are safe. The crew of another vessel MV Samarpan that went adrift 19 nautical miles south of Diu are safe. Both of these vessels are being monitored by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Mumbai (MRCC), informed the Indian Coast Gaurd on Wednesday.
The Barge P305 started drifting after its anchors gave way off the Heera Oil Fields in Bombay High as cyclonic storm Tauktae brushed past the western coast. The rescue operations by the navy were undertaken in extreme weather conditions and in very rough seas.
The cyclone's intensity has weakened by today but heavy rains are likely to continue with wind speeds reaching 125 kilometres per hour, the weather department said.
Cyclone Tauktae has impacted the weather conditions in several parts of Northern India. Many areas like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi will continue to witness rainfall in the coming few hours. (ANI)