KARWAR:A fishing vessel which was returning to Karwar after a good catch caught fire when it was about 20 km from the coast, leading to the death of one fisherman and burn injuries to seven others on Wednesday. There were 26 fishermen on board and they were rescued by other fishing boats which were nearby.
The vessel ‘Jalapadma’, registered in Karwar, had left for fishing on Wednesday morning. While returning, there was a blast in the battery section of the vessel leading to a huge fire. While one fisherman died on the spot, seven others who were close to the battery section suffered burns. Many fishermen jumped off the boat to save themselves. The ‘Jalapadma’ belongs to Vaman Harikantra of Karwar.
Deepak Harikantra, the driver of the vessel who also sustained burn injuries, said a fire gutted the engine and spread to the battery section. “Within a few seconds there was a blast and the boat was on fire. One person was burnt alive while the others were rescued. A Navy vessel which arrived, doused the fire and we all were brought to the Karwar district hospital with the help of fishing boats from Karwar,” he added.
Police said that a fishing vessel from Tamil Nadu which was sailing near the ‘Jalapadma’ rushed to the rescue of the stranded fishermen. Several fishing boats from Karwar also reached the spot later on and brought back the injured. Police said the identity of the deceased is yet to be established.
Of the seven injured, five are from Odisha and two from Uttara Kannada district. Doctors at the Karwar district hospital said two have suffered over 50% burns and are in serious condition while the other five are recovering.
Fisheries department deputy director P Nagaraj said, “An Indian Coast Guard vessel has been sent to the spot to tow back the burnt fishing boat. The body of the fisherman who died in the accident will be brought along with the ICG vessel,” he said.