A major tragedy was averted on Saturday, by the bravery and presence of mind of a Police officer, as all 88 passengers onboard a boat, which capsized off Mandwa coast near Mumbai after hitting a rough patch in the Arabian sea, were rescued, an official said. The mishap took place around 10.15 am when the passenger boat- Ajanta- was about to reach the Mandwa jetty in neighbouring Raigad district after leaving the Gateway of India in south Mumbai, he said.
"The boat carrying 88 people, hit a rocky patch around one km from the Mandwa jetty. Due to the impact, water started entering the boat and it began sinking," he said. The passengers, including women and children, started shouting for help. The crew members of the boat called the authorities for rescue, he said.
"An alert was issued to Marine Police and other agencies. By that time, a police patrol boat with Police Naik Prashant Gharat and two crew members on board reached the passenger boat," Superintendent of Raigad Police, Anil Paraskar, said. With the assistance of the crew, Gharat launched a massive rescue operation and safely evacuated all the passengers safely from the boat, he added.
"Thanks to Gharat's presence of mind and timely action, the lives of all the passengers were saved," he said. Gharat took 80 passengers in the police patrol boat, while the remaining eight were accommodated in another private boat. All the persons were brought to the Mandwa coast safely, Paraskar said. The work of towing the boat to the coast is on.
(with PTI inputs)