Three others were injured; Collector orders probe into the incident

Three fishermen of Pudugudi near Thondi were killed and three others injured in an explosion at sea when they went for ‘dynamite fishing', a banned fishing practice in Tamil Nadu.

The incident occurred when a fisherman was trying to ignite gelatine sticks from a boat, which carried a group of six fishermen, fishing gear, gelatine sticks and other explosives. It was said that by the time the fisherman threw the ignited gelatine into the sea, the other explosives got ignited accidentally and exploded.

K. Kumaravel (35), Jayam alias Jayachandran (27), Nagoor Gani (15), who were standing on the boat, were killed in the impact. Kannan (22), Mani (18) and Balu (30), who managed to jump into the sea within a few seconds of the explosion, escaped with injuries.

Dynamite fishing is one of the methods of catching fish, using explosives to kill fishes and other creatures in the sea. Though it is illegal, a section of the fishermen, particularly in Thondi, resort to it as it is seen as one of the most viable methods of fishing with low investment.

On hearing about the blast, fishermen of Thondi rushed to the area with boats and found the boat about five nautical miles off Thondi. Three bodies were found on it and brought to the shore. Though the injured fishermen were also brought to the shore, they went into hiding, fearing police enquiry.

A pall of gloom descended on Thondi, a suburban town on East Coast Road. A large number of people, relatives and others thronged the shore. The bodies were taken to the Government Hospital at Thiruvadanai.

Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar Giri told The Hindu that some of those involved in the incident were habitual offenders and had been booked for dynamite fishing in the past. Kannan, who managed to escape with injuries in the incident, was booked under the Explosives Act in 2010, for supplying explosives to those engaged in dynamite fishing.

Special teams were formed to nab all the suspects involved. Though there was no immediate information about the sellers of explosives, they would be arrested in a day or two. Collector V. Arun Roy said an Assistant Director of Fisheries was directed to enquire into the incident. A report would be sent to the government.

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