The 33 trawlers with around 350 fishermen, which went missing in the choppy waters of the Bay of Bengal since Thursday due to a depression, remained untraced on Friday even as the Navy was pressed into service following a request from the West Bengal government.
A Dornier aircraft of the Navy and a Coast Guard vessel were deployed for the search and rescue operations being coordinated by the State's naval officer-in-charge.
The inclement weather during the day, however, hampered the search operations to a large extent, according to defence sources.
The trawlers had set sail from Kakdwip and adjacent areas in the South 24 Parganas district early on Thursday and the district administration failed to establish contact with the crew through the day.
“The Sunderbans Fishermen Association had given us a list of 33 trawlers carrying around 350 fishermen that were missing. Three of the trawlers were located during the day and contact was established with the crew. While one has drifted to Bangladesh's Patuakhali district due to strong winds, the crew of the other two trawlers have taken shelter in a creek, and are safe,” Narayan Swarup Nigam, District Magistrate of South 24 Parganas, told The Hindu.
Pointing out that more trawlers might have drifted to Bangladesh, Mr. Nigam said that the State government had contacted the Bangladesh High Commission to seek its help in the rescue operations.
Defence sources said that a second Dornier aircraft and a ship were despatched from Vishakhapatnam during the day to join the search operations.
Keywords: West Bengal Heavy rains