49 from barge still missing, Navy continues search on 4th day


With 49 people on board a bargethat sank into the Arabian Sea four days ago still missing,Indian Navy ships worked through the night, using searchlightsto trace any movement in the pitch dark waters, as hopes offinding more survivors began to fade on Thursday.

The Navy on Thursday morning launched a fresh aerialsearch and rescue mission, deploying helicopters to scour thewaters off Mumbai coast, where the accommodation barge P305went adrift in Cyclone Tauktae fury before it sank Monday.

As many as 26 personnel on board the barge are deadand 49 still missing, after Navy personnel, battling extremeweather, so far rescued 186 of the 261 people who were onboard the barge P305 and two personnel from tugboat Varaprada.

Chances of finding more survivors are looking bleak,an official said.


Mumbai police have announced they will conduct a probeas to why the ill-fated barge remained in the turbulent areadespite warnings about cyclone Tauktae, an official said. Theyregistered an accidental death report (ADR) on Wednesday inconnection with the death of the personnel on the barge.

“The Navys Search and Rescue (SAR) operations enteredthe fourth day today. Naval ships and aircraft are presentlyundertaking SAR of the missing crew members of AccommodationBarge P-305, which sank on Monday 35 miles off Mumbai,” a Navyspokesperson said.

Navy ships INS Kochi, INS Kolkata, INS Beas, INSBetwa, INS Teg, P8I maritime surveillance aircraft, Chetak,ALH and Seaking helicopters are involved in the SARoperations, he said.

Another Navy ship INS Talwar was the On SceneCoordinator off Gujarat coast and assisted Support Station 3(SS-3) and Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan, which were being safelytowed back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels, he said.

Navy ships were deployed on Monday after the Navy wasinformed that barge P305 had gone adrift off the Heera oilfields in Bombay high area with 261 personnel on board. Theoil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)