Search operations for the several missing fishermen, who had put out to sea from the coast in Thiruvananthapuram, resumed this morning with Navy deploying a Dornier and an advanced light helicopter (ALH) with divers. Normal life had been affected in the rain-battered south Kerala coast on Thursday under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi with 4 persons losing their lives even as the state government put the official machinery on a high alert.
Government had also sought help from the Navy, the Coast Guard and the Air Force for assisting those in distress. Navy, which had on Thursday sent a Seaking helicopter for the search operations, this morning deployed a Dornier and an ALH with divers, Southern Naval Command spokesperson Commander Sreedhar Warrier told PTI.
Five ships had been sent to the southern Kerala coast on Thursday by the Navy after reports emerged that several fishermen who had put out to sea in choppy waters were yet to return. Two ships with relief materials are on stand by for humanitarian assistance to Lakshadweep.
Police said they have no exact information on the total number of fishermen missing as some have landed at various coasts, including at Colachel in TN. At least four fishermen who managed to reach the shores early today said they saw several overturned boats.
The latest observations, radar and satellite imageries released by IMD this morning indicate that the cyclonic storm over Southeast Arabian sea has moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 25 kmph during the past 6 hours and lay centred at 0230 today over the Southeast Arabian sea, about 230 km west of Thiruvananthapuram and 160 km east of Minicoy.
Two AN32 Aircraft have located people stranded in the sea and Coast Guard and Navy have been informed about the location of the fishermen and floating boats, a PIB press release said. Though two Air Force choppers are ready for rescue operations, but due to the rough weather over the Arabian sea, they have not been able to airborne, the release added.