Two days after nineteen fishermen went missing when their trawlers capsized in the Bay of Bengal off Frazerganj in Sunderban, a body was found floating near an island Monday afternoon.
The Met department on Wednesday issued an alert asking fishermen not to go to sea. One of the capsized trawlers — ‘MV Joy Kishan’ — was also found near the body. Rescue operations are on in full swing to trace the remaining fishermen, police said.
“One body has been recovered, eighteen fishermen are still untraceable. Since the body was in water for more than 24 hours, it is difficult to identify. Due to high tide, three trawlers had capsized in the Bay of Bengal,” Superintendent of Police, Sundarban, Tathagata Basu told The Indian Express.
The body was recovered around 30 km from Dalhousie Island. Police claimed that no high tide alert was issued on Monday. “Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft from Kolkata, a hovercraft from Frazergunj and Coast Guard Ship Sujoy inspite of inclement weather and rough seas carried out extensive search for missing fishermen off Sagar island,” a Coast Guard statement said.
“Today morning, one of the missing boats was sighted about 30 miles south off Dalhousie island. No survivor was found,” it said, adding that search is being continued.
A hovercraft and an airplane, coast guard personnel, police officers and members of a fishermen association are conducting the rescue operation. Officials said chances of survival are low since 48 hours have already passed since the trawlers capsized.
“Most of the missing fishermen were from Namkhana and Kakdwip areas. No alert was issued. At around 4 pm Monday, the sea turned choppy and huge waves started coming in. The overburdened trawlers couldn’t withstand the gusty winds and overturned,” said an official.
Two trawlers — MV Malleshwar and MV Maa Shibani — are yet to be traced. Sources said some fishermen had tried to escape from the sinking trawlers.
Three trawlers capsized in the rough seas around 4 pm on July 16 and 47 fishermen fell into the water, officials said adding that 28 of them were rescued by other trawlers.