India World

Cyclone Taukate: Indian Navy recover 70 victims of barge tragedy, 16 more believed missing

Indian Navy crew searching for missing members of Barge P305 that sank off the Mumbai coast in Cyclone Taukate have so far recovered 70 lifeless bodies.

A total of 188 survivors, including two rescued from tugboat Varaprada, have been recovered so far. The Navy is expected to continue the search for 16 more believed missing from the barge and tugboat.

The list of those missing may get a lot shorter if it is confirmed that the 14 bodies recovered along the coasts of Maharashtra and Gujarat in the last few days are those of the barge and tugboat personnel.

Eight bodies were recovered on Raigad coast in Maharashtra, six were found on Valsad coast in Gujarat. However, the teams will conduct diving operations on Monday to locate the missing persons.

Barge 305 housed personnel engaged in maintenance work of an offshore oil drilling platform operated by state-run oil and gas major ONGC sank on May 17 off the Mumbai coast after it went adrift due to the high-speed winds and huge tidal waves caused by the extremely severe cyclone.

The barge was located on the seabed following a systematic search by INS Makar, which employed advanced side scan sonar. The Navy also deployed specialised diving teams to boost the search and rescue operations.

Authorities are conducting DNA analysis to identify almost half the victims of the barge tragedy.