Three fishermen were charred to death and two others severely injured after their fishing trawler caught fire late on Saturday night. Five other fishermen had a narrow escape.
The incident occurred at 11.30 pm when the fishermen were catching fish in the Bay of Bengal, 60 nautical miles from Paradip coast.
Coast Guard officials said there were 10 fishermen in the trawler named ‘Maa Durga’ and five of them were getting ready to catch fish while the others were asleep in the cabin when the incident occurred.
Three fishermen among those asleep in the cabin were charred to death and two managed to escape in the fire that is believed to have started from a spark in the trawler’s battery.
The fire spread to cans containing diesel stored in the trawler for the return trip. “The fishermen were getting ready to fish when the fire erupted from the vessel’s battery. Before we could realise, it spread to the large cans containing diesel. It is a normal practice of fishermen to store diesel for return trips. While two of the five inside the cabin managed to come out, we failed to rescue the other three as we could not enter the cabin,” said driver of the trawler Babu Haldar. He added that other fishermen in the sea informed the Coast Guard whose timely intervention saved the fishermen.
Coast Guard officials said after getting information about the mishap, a team of officials asked the fishermen present in the sea to render assistance to the affected trawler.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship ‘Rajkiran’ arrived at the spot by 4 am and provided first aid to those injured and towed the trawler to Paradip coast. Later, ICG personnel transferred the injured to Port Hospital. The three deceased are Gopal Haldar, Balram Mandal and Mahadev Behera hailing from Atharbanki area of Jagatsinghpur. The two seriously injured crew members were shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. Their condition is stated to be critical. Police said the boat belongs to Dipu Mohapatra hailing from Balasore. IIC of Paradip police station Bhabagrahi Rout said as per report of driver of the boat, a case has been registered.