The death toll in the trawler capsize in the Muriganga in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district mounted to 76 on Tuesday, as 10 more bodies were recovered by rescue teams.
More than 70 people still remain untraced, district officials said. Home Secretary G.D. Gautama said that contrary to earlier estimates that 220 people were onboard, based on the names of missing passengers submitted at the Kakdwip sub-divisional office, it now appeared that over 240 people had boarded the vessel.
The over-loaded trawler, carrying pilgrims from Hijli Sharif in Purba Medinipur district to Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district, capsized after it was lashed by high waves caused by a passing ship. Ninety-three passengers were rescued.
Due to the inclement weather, strong currents and choppy waters, the rescue operations had to be called off prematurely on Monday.
“The rescue operations resumed in full force on Tuesday morning after the skies weather cleared up. Personnel of the Coast Guard, the Navy, the Civil Defence Group, the State's disaster management force and the police worked in tandem to recover bodies and locate the trawler,” District Magistrate of South 24 Parganas Narayan Swarup Nigam said.