PARADIP: AT Least 12 fishermen had a narrow escape after their boats capsized in Mahanadi river mouth near Nehru Bangla in Paradip on Wednesday.
Two boats carrying six fishermen each had ventured into the sea for fishing in the morning. They were returning to Nehru Bangla fishing harbour when the boats were swept away due to strong wind. A few minutes later, the boats capsized in the rough sea just few metres away from the shore.
Hearing the screams of fishermen, some fishermen in the harbour rushed in their boats to the spot and rescued all the 12 persons. While all of them were admitted to Atharbanki Hospital, condition of two fishermen is serious.
In August this year, two country boats had capsized at the same spot near Mahanadi river mouth. While one fisherman went missing, 10 others managed to swim to safety. Five fishermen were returning in a boat, owned by Soka Rabana of Sandhkuda, to Nehru Bangla fishing jetty after fishing in the morning when due to high tide, the boat capsized. The five fishermen jumped into the sea to rescue themselves. However, one among them, Mala Jagannath (28) went missing while the four others managed to swim to the shore.
Similarly, another country boat that was returning to Nehru Bangla fishing jetty capsized near Mahanadi river mouth due to rough sea. All the six fishermen, who were aboard, jumped into the sea and swam to safety.
Locals said the depth of the river mouth is decreasing due to massive siltation, posing threat to trawlers and boats. Besides, coast guard and other rescue teams also find it hard to use their vessels for search operation.
At least five fishermen have gone missing in the last two years after their boats capsized at the same sea stretch. In June last year, a fishing trawler ‘Sreekhetra- 5’ had capsized in Mahanadi river mouth in which one fisherman Madhabananda Mohanty had died. Two other fishermen - Kailash Parida and Kathia Majhi - who had gone missing then, are yet to be found. In July the same year, another boat had capsized at the same spot but fortunately, four fishermen managed to swim to the shore.