A 49-year-old man who lost his usual ocean route, survived 28 days adrift before he hit the coast at Odisha’s Puri district on Friday.
Amrit Kujur, a resident of Shahid Dweep at Andaman and Nicobar Islands (A&N), follows sea routes for a living and supplies passing ships with everyday items such as groceries and potable water.
On September 28, Kujur and a friend, Divyaranjan, set out from A&N to trade with ships on the Indian Ocean.
However, a storm left them stranded, away from their regular course in a damaged boat. “We had to throw out all our cargo to lighten the boat,” said Kujur to journalists. “The boat was badly damaged,” he added
He said they signalled some big ships for help after being stranded but none could spot them.
Help arrived in the form of a a Burmese Navy ship which stocked the boat with 260 litres of fuel for their way back to A&N and equipped them with a compass. However, Kujur told journalists in Odisha that another storm hit them after that and they lost course once again.
After the fuel ran out, the two were stranded yet again. “I had lost all hope, but survived drinking sea water, which I filtered by soaking and then squeezing my towel,” said Kujur.
Krushnaprasad Station Police Inspector Abhimanyu Nayak told The Indian Express that he checked out Amrut’s story. “At this point, we have determined that a person by the name of Amrit Kujur and Divaranjan were deemed missing at sea since last month. They have family members on the island chain,” he said.
Kujur’s friend Divyaranajan however, could not make it. There is little chance of verifying the circumstances leading to Divyaranjan’s death, which Kujur says happened because of drinking sea water over a sustained time period and hunger. “He became weaker with each passing day till he died. I had to let go of his body from the boat,” Kujur said.