At least 37 personnel onboard barge P305 that went adrift in Cyclone Tauktae fury before sinking in the Arabian Sea are dead, Navy officials said. So far, 188 of the 261 people who were on board the barge have been rescued. Search operations are underway for at least 50 more who were on the barge and on another tugboat Varaprada.
The Navy on Thursday morning launched a fresh aerial search and rescue mission, deploying helicopters to scour the waters off Mumbai coast four days ago. Indian Navy ships worked through the night, using searchlights to trace any movement in the pitch dark waters to look for survivors. The search operations would continue for another three days at least, Indian Navy Commodore Ajay Jha said.
Navy ships INS Kochi, INS Kolkata, INS Beas, INS Betwa, INS Teg, P8I maritime surveillance aircraft, Chetak, ALH and Seaking helicopters are involved in the SAR operations. Another Navy ship INS Talwar was the ‘On Scene Coordinator’ off Gujarat coast and assisted Support Station 3 (SS-3) and Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan, which were being safely towed back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels, an official said.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced a high-level inquiry into “lapses and gaps” in the system. It will probe the sequence of events leading to the ONGC support vessels left stranded by the cyclone, see whether…