Bodies of four out of the nine fishermen who went missing after their trawler capsized off Mousuni Island in West Bengal under the impact of Cyclone Bulbul were recovered in a joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard and the NDRF, a senior Coast Guard officer said Monday.
The trawler had capsized on Saturday midnight 50 metre off the island when it was caught in the severe cyclone, which made its landfall between Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas and Khepupara in Bangladesh.
The four bodies were recovered after sustained hunt, Commander of Coast Guard, West Bengal and Deputy Inspector General S R Dash told PTI. The bodies have been handed over to the district administration, he said.
Dash said the search operation will resume Tuesday to locate the other missing fishermen who were onboard the trawler when it capsized off Mousuni Island in South 24 Paraganas district under the impact of the high-speed cyclone. Coast Guard and NDRF teams have been engaged in the rescue operation since the mishap.
Cyclone 'Bulbul' after its landfall on Saturday midnight had hurtled northeastwards into neighbouring Bangladesh over the Sunderban delta.
Commandant of NDRF 2nd Battalion, Nitish Upadhyay told PTI Monday that deep divers of the force are searching the sea to locate the missing fishermen as time runs short for the hapless men.
Dash said the Coast Guard has pressed two hovercraft in the the search operation. Each hovercraft comprises a pilot, a co-pilot and eight crew men and they are conducting sorties from Fraserganj coast.
Commandant Deepak Singh of Coast Guard, Haldia is commanding the hovercrafts.
According to other sources there were 13 fishermen in the trawler and four of them had swum to safety. The whereabouts of the rest nine were not known before the four bodies were found.
Dash said the Coast Guard has been bracing for the cyclone situation since November 6 and its personnel had sensitised people of all the coastal villages.
Nadia-based NDRF 2nd Battalion commandant said a total 10 teams of the force have been engaged in three West Bengal districts - North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Medinipur before the cyclonic storm made its landfall.
Upadhyay said the NDRF teams are rendering assistance to district administration post-cyclone to remove uprooted trees and in restoration work.