A group of 31 fishermen including 12 women, stuck in the floodwaters in the river Godavari near upper cofferdam of Polavaram Project on Friday morning, were successfully rescued by NDRF teams with the help of the Navy.
All the stranded fishermen were airlifted to safety and later sent to their native place in Dowleswaram, East Godavari district on Friday evening, while their boats were moored to the cofferdam, with police officials promising fishermen to restore the boats to them once the flood recedes
Earlier in the day, locals in Polavaram village and Gandi Posamma temple area on both the banks of Godavari noticed the fishermen shouting for help while trying to control their boats from capsizing near the upper cofferdam. They immediately alerted the police and revenue officials, who in turn alerted the NDRF teams deployed for rescue and relief operation in flood-affected areas.
The fishermen managed to climb atop the cofferdam near Gandipaochamma temple but in the process lost one of their 10 boats. Locals near Gandipochamma temple tried to rescue them, but could not as the flood in the river was too strong
The India Navy dispatched two helicopters to airlift the fishermen, as the rescue attempts using mechanized boats failed due to strong currents in the river. Three of the fishermen were reported to have fainted due to hunger.
Polavaram DSP M Venkateswarlu along with NDRF reached Gandipochamma temple by road and from there managed to reach the place where the fishermen were stranded. Some of the fishermen who were afraid of boarding the helicopter were taken in the launch by the DSP and his men, while the rest were airlifted to Polavaram.
The fishermen are from Jalaripeta in Dowleswaram, East Godavari district. They went for fishing in the Godavari upstream of Polavaram Project in 10 motorboats 80-days ago. They embarked on their return journey 10 days ago as the river Godavari was swelling with floodwater.
On Friday, they started from Kunavaram to Dowleswaram in their boats but got stuck near the upper cofferdam and their boats started capsizing in the river. However, they managed to swim up to the cofferdam.