Their dhow sank in bad weather in outer sea

Almost 48 hours since the search began for the missing sailors of Friday’s shipwreck off Ponnani-Parapanangadi coast, there is still no sign of the three lost at sea even as a combined operation by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and fishermen touched a peak on Monday.

The eight sailors manning the dhow, Arul Seeli, were stranded in the outer sea after their vessel sank due to rough weather during the early hours of Saturday.

But the search teams have still not been able to find a trace of the remaining three crew of the dhow - Alex Rapaich, Xavier Perez, and Jesu Michael – despite extensive search led by ICG’s Dornier aircraft flown down from Kochi.

A Chetak helicopter and ICG ship Annie Besant joined in the search which was continued through Sunday night and is still on. All three are said to be wearing life jackets.

ICG personnel had even talked to the rescued fishermen in a bid to locate the spot where the dhow had capsized.

Coast Guard officials on Monday confirmed that they have located the exact spot where the dhow sunk around 38 to 40 kms from the coast.

“We have two ships now looking for any sign of the three sailors. Another of our ship is heading here from Mumbai,” Beypore ICG personnel informed.

A Dornier aircraft is continuing to scan the waters while the chopper is doing sorties after continually fuelling from Karipur airport.

ICG personnel said the sea is still rough and this would make it difficult to trace the sailors as their movement from the accident spot would be faster in the tide.

They said the Beypore Port Trust had also pitched in by sending a dhow and a fishing boat to join the search.

“Our rescue team has been carrying out searches in the area with every external support possible. With Dornier and three ships our search covers an extensive area,” ICG PRO informed.

“By 10 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) we will be able to confirm the results of our search,” he said.

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