In a swift operation, the Navy and Coast Guard helicopters today rescued 14 crew members of a vessel, which sank off the Mumbai coast.
The vessel, MV Coastal Pride, a cement carrier, sank 75 nautical miles off Mumbai and 24 nautical miles south of Daman, a Defence spokesperson said.
“Indian Navy had launched one SeaKing helicopter at 07.58 am from INS Shikra in Colaba and the Coast Guard had launched two Chetak helicopters at around 08.40am for the rescue operation,” a press release from the Defence Ministry stated.
The ship had sailed from Porbandar in Gujarat and was heading to Mumbai. However, due to rough seas it gave a distress call to the Coast Guard after which helicopters were pressed into service to save 14 crew members, Indian Coast Guard PRO Hemant Ahuja said.
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Immediately after receiving an SOS message, the Navy launched a SeaKing chopper from INS Shikra, Colaba, while the Coast Guard launched two Chetak helicopters for the rescue operation.
While six persons were picked by Coast Guard chopper before the ship sank, the Navy helicopter saved six persons from the waters and Coast Guard picked two persons, after it sank.
The men, winched into helicopters that hovered in gusty winds, were evacuated to Umargaon where the chopper landed on the beach.
This is the second such operation in 48 hours.
The Navy and Coast Guard helicopters had on Monday rescued 20 people on board a listing merchant ship off Vasai coast in neighbouring Palghar district.
“It is tremendously difficult if you are hovering and maintaining a distance of around 20 to 30 feet because of the swell. Pilots do only that and air divers send winches down and bring up the men. It is a very, very specialised and precise operation to make sure there is no loss of life,” Navy spokesperson, Captain D K Sharma said. (With PTI inputs)