Eight unidentified bodies were found at three different locations along the coast in Maharashtra’s Raigad district and the police suspect they could be of some of the victims of barge P305 that sank off the Mumbai coast in cyclone Tauktae, a police official said on Sunday.
Out of the eight bodies found on Saturday, five were washed ashore in Mandwa, two in Alibaug and another one in Murud, the senior official from Raigad police said.
“The bodies are yet to be identified,” he said.
Local administration and senior officials of the state police have been informed about the bodies, he added.
Barge P305 sank during the Cyclone Tauktae fury last Monday and was located on the seabed on Saturday, a Navy spokesperson earlier said.
The death count on the barge rose to 66 with the recovery of six more bodies on Saturday, while nine personnel are still missing, the Navy had said.
Of the 261 personnel who were on barge P305 at the time of the incident, 186 have been rescued so far, it had said.
Barge P305, 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.
Apart from the nine missing personnel of the barge P305, the Navy and the Coast Guard are also searching for 11 persons from tugboat Varaprada who went missing after the cyclone. Of the 13 people on Varaprada, two have been rescued.
On Saturday, four bodies were also found on the shore of the Arabian Sea in Gujarat’s Valsad district.
“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.
The Navy had deployed specialised diving teams to boost the search and rescue operations.