The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued 314 people on board two barges that went adrift in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai hours before Cyclone Tauktae made landfall on the Gujarat coast, an official said on Tuesday.
Three barges and an oil rig with 611 personnel on board had been drifting on Monday. These included accommodation barge P305 with 273 people, cargo barge GAL Constructor with 137 personnel on board, accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel on board and the Sagar Bhushan oil rig with 101 personnel on board, a Navy official said.
“Two Coast Guard Chetak helicopters operating from the Coast Guard Air station in Daman rescued personnel on board the GAL Constructor. One more Chetak helicopter was also pressed into service for the SAR operations,” he said.
Navy ships were deployed on Monday after receiving a request for help for barge P305 drifting off Heera oil fields in Bombay high area with 273 personnel on board. 60 people on board the P305 barge were rescued till 11 pm and the remaining till Tuesday afternoon, the official said.
The Navy on Tuesday morning deployed the P-8I long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft to join the search and rescue operations, the Navy official said.