KOLLAM/THRISSUR/KOZHIKODE: The number of Keralites who lost their lives in the Mumbai barge capsize rose to five as the ONGC confirmed three more deaths on Friday. Arjun, a native of Thrissur, Antony Edwin of Kollam and Sumesh of Wayanad are the three people whose deaths were confirmed on Friday.
There were 30 Keralites on P 305, the barge that sank mid-sea as huge tidal waves triggered by Cyclone Tauktae smashed Mumbai High Oilfield on May 17. While 22 of them were rescued, the bodies of five were recovered. The search is on for three missing Keralites. The ONGC had confirmed the death of Jomish Joseph of Panamaram in Wayanad district and Sasin Ismail of Chirakkadavu in Kottayam district on Thursday.
The body of Antony Edwin, 27, a native of Sakthikulangara in Kollam district, was recovered by the Navy during the search and rescue operation on Friday. Antony had been an employee of a private firm in Mumbai for the past four years. Relatives said they had not received any information about Antony since the barge capsized. He was the son of fisherman Edwin and Vimala. Antony last visited his parents after joining the new company two years ago.
“Antony had contacted his parents on May 17. It was the wedding anniversary of his parents and he called to wish them. He told his father that he was in the oil field in Mumbai and that the sea was getting rough due to the cyclone. Antony urged his parents to pray for him. We never heard from him after that,” said a relative.
The relatives of Arjun, 38, a native of Puthuruthi near Wadakkanchery, received information about his death on Friday. He worked as the safety officer on the ill-fated barge. He had worked with ONGC for the past eight weeks. Arjun married Arathi, who works with Railway Police Force in Kolkata, two-and-a-half years ago.
“He had returned to report for duty in Mumbai three weeks ago. The family is totally devastated as Arjun has been their only son,” said Jayan, a neighbour. The family which was based in Padukkad near Viyyur had shifted to Puthuruthi ten years ago. As per the information received by the family, the mortal remains would be brought to his residence on Saturday. Sumesh, a native of Vaduvanchal in Wayanad district, is the third person whose death was confirmed on Friday. He is the son of Sudhakaran of Mele Vellery in Vaduvanchal. He had been working with Boustead Control and Electrics.
According to ONGC, there were 261 workers on board the barge of whom 186 had been rescued. As many as 51 bodies have been recovered by the Navy and Coast Guard and the search and rescue operation is continuing. The ONGC has announced an immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh to the survivors and Rs 2 lakh for the families of workers who have died or are reported missing.