Cyclone Tauktae caused extensive damage in its wake across Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, before making landfall on the Gujarat coast on Monday night.
The disaster, coming as it did amid an enormous second wave of COVID, demanded a challenging rescue operation, with lakhs of people living in the western states getting evacuated. What has caught people’s attention is a dramatic video clip of the Navy deploying a warship to rescue two people stranded in the sea.
Search & Rescue Ops Barge P305 continued through the night by #INSKochi & #INSKolkata. Offshore Support Vessel Energy Star & Great Ship Ahalya have joined the effort.
132 personnel rescued so far in extremely challenging circumstances.@DefenceMinIndia https://t.co/9fbs7g8STl
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) May 18, 2021
On Monday, hours before the cyclone hit Gujarat, two ships — Afcons Barge P305 and Barge GAL Constructor — were stranded in Bombay High with 410 people on board. The Navy deployed three warships — INS Kochi, INS Kolkata and INS Talwar — for search and rescue (SAR) assistance.
Barge P305, with 273 people on board, sank about 60 km away from Mumbai. INS Kolkata, initially headed for GAL Constructor, was diverted to attend to P305.
In a separate effort, INS Kolkata rescued two survivors from the life raft of another vessel, Vara Prabha, and a video clip of this drew wide praise from citizens. Then, it went on to join the INS Kochi for the SAR of the crew of Barge P305, Navy officials told news agencies.
The survivors from the life raft were subsequently brought to land on a helicopter.
#IndianNavy is engaged in multiple Search and Rescue operations #CycloneTauktae along the West Coast and #Unite2FightCorona with #IndianNavy ships deployed across #IndianOceanRegion to bring back #Oxygen as #IndiaFightsCOVID19 (1/n).#HarKaamDeshKeNaam@DefenceMinIndia @PMOIndia https://t.co/7FO21QFmek
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) May 17, 2021
Sharing photos and videos on its Twitter handle, the Navy pointed out that the rescue operations were carried out in “extreme weather conditions and very rough seas”. “This is one of the most challenging search and rescue operations I’ve seen in the last four decades,” news agency ANI quoted Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Murlidhar Sadashiv Pawar as saying.