At least four bodies were on Saturday found on the shore of the Arabian sea in Gujarat’s Valsad district which the police suspect could be some of the missing victims of the barge P 305 that had sunk off the Mumbai coast in cyclone Tauktae on Monday, an officer said.
“Seeing the uniforms and life jackets on the four bodies, it appears they are all members of the barge that had sunk off the Mumbai coast,” Superintendent of Police, Valsad, Rajdeepsinh Jhala told PTI.
While three bodies washed ashore on the Tithal beach one body was found on a beach in Dungri village in the district in south Gujarat which is close to Maharashtra, police said.
“We have registered a case of accidental death and sent the bodies for postmortem. Their identity is being established,” Mr Jhala said, adding that messages about the recovery of bodies are relayed to Mumbai and elsewhere through the control room.
Barge P 305, which housed personnel engaged in maintenance work of an offshore oil drilling platform of state-run oil and gas major ONGC, sank on Monday evening off the Mumbai coast after it went adrift due to the high-speed winds and huge tidal waves caused by the extremely severe cyclone which brushed the Mumbai coast on its way to Gujarat.
Earlier in the day, a Navy spokesperson said the death count in the P305 tragedy rose to 66 with the recovery of six more bodies during the day while nine personnel are still missing.
Of the 261 personnel who were on barge P305 at the time of the incident, 186 have been rescued so far and 66 died.
Apart from the nine missing personnel of the barge P 305, the Navy and the Coast Guard are also searching for 11 persons from tugboat Varaprada who went missing after the cyclone. Of the 13 persons on Varaprada, two have been rescued.