A barge with 38 people on board that sank in the Arabian Sea four days ago is still missing. Indian Navy ships are working through the night, using searchlights to detect any movement in the pitch dark waters, as faith of finding more survivors began to fade on Thursday.
The Navy launched a new aerial search and rescue mission on Thursday morning, assigning helicopters to search the waters off Mumbai coast, where the barge P305 went off track in Tauktae Cyclone rage before it sank on Monday.
About 37 personnel on board the barge are dead and 38 are still missing, after Navy personnel, resisting extreme weather, till now only 186 were rescued of the 261 people who were on board the barge P305 and two crew from tugboat Varaprada.
A spokesperson told PTI, that on Wednesday morning, Naval ships INS Kochi and on the same late night INS Kolkata brought the bodies of the “Brave Nature’s Victims” to Mumbai.
An official said that chances of finding more survivors are looking grim.
Another official added Mumbai police have declared they will conduct an inquiry as to why the ill-fated barge stayed in the area of turbulence in spite of cautions about cyclone Tauktae. They registered an accidental death report (ADR) on Wednesday in link with the personnel’s death on the barge.
A Navy spokesperson said the Navy’s Search and Rescue (SAR) operations entered the fourth day today. Naval ships and aircraft are currently tackling SAR of the missing crew members of Accommodation Barge P-305, which sank 35 miles off Mumbai on Monday.
He added that Navy ships INS Kochi, INS Kolkata, INS Beas, INS Betwa, INS Teg, P8I maritime surveillance aircraft, Chetak, ALH and Seaking helicopters are all engaged in the SAR operations.
One more Navy ship INS Talwar was the ‘On Scene Coordinator’ off Gujarat coast and helped Support Station 3 (SS-3) and Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan, which were being safely transported back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels, he said.
Navy ships were assigned after the Navy was notified that barge ‘P305’ had gone unanchored off the Heera oil fields in Bombay high area with 261 personnel on board on Monday.