The Eastern Naval Command sent a Dornier aircraft from Visakhapatnam soon after daybreak to trace the missing boats
While the administration in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh remained on tenterhooks for the third day on Thursday, bracing themselves to tackle the severe cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal, 11 fishermen were rescued by the Navy in a high voltage drama on the high seas.
Following an SoS from the State Government on Wednesday midnight about several fishermen stranded in the rough seas, the Eastern Naval Command sent a Dornier aircraft from Visakhapatnam soon after daybreak to trace the missing boats. A chopper followed to rescue the fishermen if they were sighted.
A boat that had turned upside down was spotted by the Dornier off Narsapur in West Godavari district. Five fishermen were sitting on its hull. All of them were airlifted into the copter. They had set out to sea from Kakinada on December 26.
Anchor breaks loose
Six other fishermen were similarly saved from a boat found off Odarevula in Allavaram mandal of East Godavari district. With the anchor coming loose, the boat kept drifting from Kakinada from where it had set out the same day.
Mobile signals tracked by BSNL, Airtel and Idea at the instance of A. Babu, Joint Collector, Kakinada, indicated that two boats with 13 fishermen were floating in the sea off Ravur and Binikinipalli in Prakasam district. After sometime, the mobile phones of the fishermen became dead.
The Coast Guard could not continue the mission due to rough weather.
Disaster Management Commissioner T. Radha told this correspondent that two ships were being rushed from Visakhapatnam and Paradip to save them if possible before dawn.
Six other fishermen reached ashore in their own boat at Kumbhabhishekam port near Kakinada by night, much to the relief of the officials.