GUWAHATI: A 14-member team from the Indian Navy on Wednesday joined the ongoing search operation at a dam in Manipur to locate three missing picnickers.
Two boats, carrying 12 picnickers, had capsized in the Mapithel dam in Kamjong district and sunk during a cyclonic storm on April 28. While nine of them were later rescued by the locals, there is no trace of the remaining three.
The missing persons were identified as Saggapam Rajiv (36), Saggapam Romen (31) and Ningthoujam Rina (20), all of them hailing from Ningthoukhong Kha Khunou in the state’s Bishnupur district.
The Manipur government had earlier sent a request to the central government to engage Navy divers in the search and rescue operation.
An official source said the naval team, comprising 12 divers and two hydrographers (survey sailors), were airlifted from Visakhapatnam to Manipur capital Imphal on Tuesday evening by an Indian Air Force aircraft.
#InTheAidToCivil : A C-130J aircraft of IAF was launched from Panagarh to Imphal via Vizag today. The aircraft is airborne from Vizag to Imphal & picked up Naval divers from Vizag.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 30, 2019
Naval divers will be undertaking search operation of the people missing in the Imphal boat tragedy. pic.twitter.com/K9ufZm8yK4
“The naval diving team carried along necessary diving equipment including portable side scan sonar for locating objects underwater and commenced search operation today (Wednesday). The team has joined the ongoing search operation along with NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team and civil authorities…” the source said.
The cyclonic storm had wreaked havoc in parts of Manipur damaging houses and educational institutes and uprooting trees and electric poles.
Currently, 90 personnel, 35 of them from NDRF, 15 from State Disaster Response Force, 28 from the state’s fire service and 12 from Navy, are engaged in the search and rescue operation. They were being assisted by the locals. The NDRF said it was using SOLAR technology, four deep diving sets and five inflatable rubberized boats.