The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard continued search for missing fishermen using ships, dornier aircraft and helicopters in the “rough sea” off Kerala and Lakshadweep in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi. While INS Nireekshak, INS Jamuna and INS Sagardhwani are continuing search and rescue operations in their designated areas along the coast off Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, two ships INS Shardul and INS Sharda are heading towards Lakshadweep, a defence spokesman said. The naval ships, which left from the Southern Naval Command here yesterday, are likely to reach Lakshadweep this evening. The spokesman said about eight boats from Kerala with 36 people on board are reported to be adrift at sea off Kalpeni island. “The sea is very rough.. Naval ships moved as soon as we received intimation,” he said. Fifteen fishermen rescued by the Coast Guard are being brought to the Thiruvananthapuram coast, the official said. Four fishermen were rescued by a Navy chopper this morning, 20 miles off Kochi. They were taken to a naval clinic here for medical examination. INS Nireekshak rescued two fishermen off Alappuzha coast. INS Sagardhwani fished out one cadaver, 30 km off Thiruvananthapuram coast. The ship had earlier found another cadaver. The body has been handed over to the civil administration, he said.
Indian Coast Guard ship Samar rescued a fishing boat with five crew members on board, the spokesman said. He said one of the crew in an advanced light helicopter (ALH) was wounded while assisting fishermen trapped in the sea off Kerala coast. The crew member, V K Verma, suffered hand injury caused by the winch wire. He, however, continued “heroically” to help the fishermen to be rescued, before himself being winched up, the spokesman said.
Verma has been admitted to a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Ockhi — which in Bengali means ‘eye’ — is likely to continue to move west- northwestwards across Lakshadweep islands during the next 24 hours and then recurve northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours, a Met department bulletin said.