MUMBAI: Mumbai Police has handed over the bodies of 52 crew members who died after barge P305 and tugboat Varprada sank off the Mumbai coast during cyclone Tauktae while 27 bodies are yet to be identified, an official said on Wednesday.
The Navy on Tuesday evening recovered another eight bodies near Alibag coast in neighbouring Raigad district, which were handed over to Mumbai Police and sent for autopsy, he said.
Earlier, the Navy had handed over the bodies of 71 victims to the city police who has registered an Accidental Death Report and is probing what led to the tragedy.
As many as 188 crew members from both the vessels were rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard.
Of total 79 recovered bodies, 52 were identified and handed over by the police to the family members, while 27 bodies were yet to be identified, the official said.
Police are taking help of forensic science laboratories to identify the bodies through DNA matching, he added.
P305 and Varprada -- both support vessels working for the state-run ONGC's offshore oilfields near Mumbai -- bore the brunt of cyclone Tauktae which made landfall on Gujarat coast on May 17.
The chief engineer of the barge P305 had alleged in his statement to the police that its captain did not take the cyclone warning seriously.
The police has so far recorded the statements of eight surviving crew members.