Twenty-one more bodies were found on Monday from the trawler which sank in Hooghly river near Talpatti island raising the toll to 62 and with teams engaged in the operations encountering bad weather,the West Bengal government sought the help of Coast Guard.
“The toll has reached 62,but a low depression in the Bay of Bengal is creating problems for the rescue teams and they are stuck in midstream,” West Bengal Sundarbans Development Minister Kanti Ganguly said.
“It has begun raining and the waves have grown stronger with the rescuers finding it difficult to return to the shore,” Ganguly said,adding,”We are speaking to the Coast Guard so that the rescue teams can be brought back safely.”
South 24 Parganas Superintendent of Police,L N Meena said though the operations were being delayed by the weather it was still continuing.
The Coast Guard,personnel of the Kolkata Port Trust,a 40-member team of the state disaster management force began operations in the morning with hovercraft and speedboats. Another six member team of divers from Andhra Pradesh reached Kakdwip,but could not carry out operations because of strong currents,official sources said.
The trawler,which was sailing from Hijli Sharif in East Midnapore district to Kakdwip in South Parganas capsized and sank on October 30.
It was located yesterday by personnel of the Kolkata Port Trust and Coast Guards using echo sounding equipment.
Of the passengers on board,50 people were rescued yesterday.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee paid separate visits yesterday and also visited the Kakdwip Hospital.
Banerjee told newsmen last night that after speaking with the families of those missing at Anandanagar and Kamalpur villages she apprehended 100 passengers could be missing.
She said the initial confusion between the jurisdiction of the spot of sinking between the administrations of East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts cost lives and some more could have been saved had rescue operations been launched quickly.
She claimed that there was inadequate infrastructure in the district for rescue operations and it was a failure of the administration that so many lives had been lost.