KOCHI: “We all met at the harbour on Monday night and boarded the boats hoping for a good catch. My brother Yoganathan was very happy and he cheerfully waved his hands as he boarded Oceanic, the ill-fated boat. He also talked to his family members over phone before setting sail. We were in different boats. I never thought it will be our last meeting,” said Sahayadasan, brother of Yoganathan who died in the mid-sea collision.
Sahayadasan broke down as he received the lifeless body of his brother from Kalamassery Medical College Hospital.
“I have lost my brother and my relatives Sahayaraj, Yesupalan, Rajesh and Jinesh have gone missing. We returned from Ramanthurai to Kochi after the 57-day trawling ban hoping to support our family. But we have lost everything,” he said.
Sahayadasan accompanied the body of Yoganathan which was taken to North Paravur Taluk Hospital on Tuesday morning. Though he seemed depressed, he kept enquiring about the whereabouts of his friends. “All the workers in Oceanic, except three, were my friends and relatives,” he said.
“Our boat rushed to the spot after hearing about the incident. The boat was hit by the ship when it was moving slowly. The ship ripped the boat apart and the workers were caught underneath,” he said.
Edwin, 29, one of the rescued who is admitted to General Hospital, Ernakulam, is also a relative of Sahayadasan. “Another boat was present near Oceanic when the incident occurred. They alerted other boats. We rushed to the spot but could spot only wooden planks floating in the water,” Sahayadasan said.
According to the statement given by Edwin to Munambam SI, all those onboard Oceanic except him were sleeping when the collision happened.
“The ship rammed the boat from behind, breaking it in two and throwing us into the sea. The vessel, made a brief halt, and resumed its journey after a short while without bothering about the fate of the workers. The duo clung to a wooden plank for about four hours before help arrived,” a police officer said.