National carrier Air India would operate a 144-seater Airbus A-319 relief flight from here to Port Blair tonight to bring back the stranded passengers in the island to Kolkata. A similar relief flight was also scheduled to be operated by the Air India from Chennai to Port Blair this evening to clear all stranded passengers in the island, the AI sources
said here today.
A fleet of seven ships and six helicopters yesterday evacuated all 2,376 tourists, including several foreign nationals, stranded in two islands of the Andamans due to cyclonic weather since December 5. With the improvement of weather yesterday, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Union Territory (UT) administration started a joint evacuation drive and brought back all stranded tourists to Port Blair from Havelock and Neil islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
“Altogether 2,376 tourists were evacuated from the two islands and brought to Port Blair. All are safe and are taken care of,” an official of the UT disaster department had said. He said three Mi 17V-5 military transport helicopters from the Air Force and three Pawan Hans helicopters of the Union Territory administration, besides seven ships from the Navy and administration have been regularly plying between the islands for the evacuation process.
Located about 40 km from here, Havelock and Neil are the most popular tourist attractions in the Andamans where tourists were stranded since Monday due to torrential rains, choppy seas and heavy winds as neither aircrafts nor ships could operate due to the inclement weather.