Cyclone Ockhi: 17 Kerala fishermen rescued
Thiruvananthapuram: Seventeen fishermen were Sunday rescued after spending five days in the sea off the Kerala coast, which was battered by strong winds and heavy rainfall under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi.
Navy sources said 13 fishermen were rescued from the high seas by INS Kalpeni Sunday morning and handed over to the authorities in Kollam. An Air Force chopper rescued four fishermen about 30 miles west of Kayamkulam and brought them to a medical college hospital. Four aircraft of the Air Force, three of the Navy, and 10 naval ships have been undertaking search operations since morning. Coast Guard ships were also engaged for rescue efforts.
Yesterday, two ships of the Coast Guard saved 10 people, according to an official statement. A Chetak helicopter of the Coast Guard form Kochi rescued a survivor from the sea. Another ship has located a fishing boat stranded in the sea with nine people on board. It was being towed to safety, the statement said. About 20 boats with 203 people aboard have taken shelter near various islands in Lakshadweep, the statement added.
Meanwhile, protests were mounting along the Kerala coast, with fishermen and their families blaming the state government for the “tardy” manner in which the rescue operations were being conducted. Residents have launched protests in coastal areas, including Alappuzha and Chellanam, over the delay in rescuing fishermen stranded in the sea. No information has been received about the 33 fishermen from Punthura who had ventured into the sea five days ago.
Fishermen in 40 small boats set off for the high seas early Sunday. Shortly after they ventured into the sea, rescuers found a body and brought it to the shore. Meanwhile, Cyclone Ockhi has moved north-northwestwards during the past six hours and lay centered over southeast and east-central Arabian Sea, about 390km west-northwest of Amini Divi island of Lakshadweep, according to the latest MeT department bulletin. Heavy rainfall is expected at isolated places in north Lakshadweep during the next 12 hours.