Six rescued so far, search on for two others
A fishing boat rescued an exhausted Jesu Michael floating on a partially deflated lifebuoy off the Azhikode coast in Thrissur on Tuesday, almost three days after the dhow in which he was sailing sank on Saturday. With this, the number of survivors touched six, with two yet to be traced.
Television visuals of the 59-year-old Michael showed a bespectacled man being led by foot to a waiting ambulance after his rescue.
“He was found by a Kochi-bound boat some 15 km west of the coast,” Azhikode Coastal Police Sub-Inspector E.J. Cleetus said.
Mr. Cleetus, who was the first to officially inform the Indian Coast Guard about Michael, said his police station received a call from the boat which rescued Michael.
“They said they were planning to take him to Kochi. But we tracked the boat and transferred Michael to our speedboat. Ever since the information about the dhow accident came in all the coastal police stations have been conducting searches,” he said. The eight sailors manning the dhow, Arul Seeli, were stranded at sea after their vessel sank due to rough weather early on Saturday.
The two still missing were Alex Rapaich and Xavier Perez. “Michael told us that he twice saw the Coast Guard helicopter fly in his direction. He had tried to wave and get their attention, but could not. He has no information about the other two sailors and said they could have moved in different directions in strong sea currents. He confirmed that all of them were wearing life jackets,” Mr. Cleetus said.
Michael is recuperating after intensive medical care at the Government Hospital, Kodungaloor.
Coast Guard Public Relations Officer at Beypore N.R. Kaladharan said the chopper was still flying sorties and an Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel from Mumbai had joined the search.
Sailors Antony Soosai Prakash, A. Suresh, and P. Ramigives were the first of the dhow’s crew to be rescued on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday morning also turned lucky for the crew when a fishing boat spotted S. Kevin and S. Maria Paskar off the Tanur coast.