(Eds: Updates, recasts story) Rameswaram/Chennai, Jul 26 (PTI) Nine fishermen were rescued from their boat which began to sink in sea after hitting a rock off Pamban near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on Sunday, authorities said.
The fishermen from Tharuvaikulam in Tuticorin district attempted to cross the century-old cantilever Pamban railway bridge when their vessel veered off the path and hit a rock, Mandapam Coast Guard station Commander M Venkatesh said.
The fishing trawler, on its way toNagapattinam, suffered damage andall the nine men onboard were safely rescued in the operation jointly taken up by the Coast Guard and the Navy.
A defence release in Chennai said four fishermen were rescued by a naval helicopter and five by a fishing boat.
A Naval helicopter from INS Parundu was immediately launched forrescue operation after a message was received from the Coast Guard about the mishap.
'The helicopter sighted the fishing trawler on a coral reef about 8 miles from the coast.The boat was found to be sinking fast due to possible damage to hull and bad sea conditions.
'Four of the eight fishermen were winched up by the helicopter in two batches and evacuated to Mandapam helipad, 15 miles away, and handed over to Coast Guard representatives,' the release said.
The other five were rescued by another fishing boat which reached the area subsequently, it added. PTI COR VGN VS VS