CHENNAI: Amid heightened anxiety among families of missing fishermen in the coastal belt of Kanniyakumari district, officers involved in disaster management rate chances of their survival high as no wreckage has been found so far during the search operations in the aftermath of cyclone ‘Ockhi’ that left a long trail of destruction.
As per official records, 35 fishermen aboard 13 country-made boats and 398 fishermen on 37 multi-day fishing vessels are still missing. A combined search mission, ‘Operation Sahayam’, is still on to locate and rescue them.
“The survival chances of the missing fishermen are quite high. Those who embark on multi-day fishing vessels can endure for long,” K Satyagopal, Commissioner for Revenue Administration (CRA) and Relief Commissioner, told Express on Tuesday. The hopes of the disaster management authorities mainly emerge from the fact that no boat wreckage has been found so far.
The CRA said: “So far no wreckage has been sighted by the personnel involved in rescue mission. This heightens the hopes for tracing them.”
A top Indian Coast Guard (ICG) official said the fishing folks out in the sea can endure for long. “We have rescued, on earlier occasions, people stranded for about 50 days,” according to M Venkatesan, regional logistics and administration officer, ICG.
The ICG, Navy and Air Force have so far, in joint search operations, rescued 1,660 fishermen, some of them plucked out of mid sea. The authorities reiterated that the rescue operations will last until all the fishermen who disappeared during the cyclone are traced.