Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 19
Twenty-six bodies have been found in the Arabian Sea and are of possibly of the persons who were on board the ill-fated barge ‘P305’ that sunk on the night intervening May 17 and May 18.
Two more survivors have been found on Wednesday, taking the number of those rescued from the barge to 186. Still 49 persons are missing at sea and with hopes of finding survivors now would be miracle.
A DNA match of the dead would reveal their identity. A DNA sample is collected, as part of protocol, of those working on oil rigs and at sea.
The sunken barge was working at the Heera oil rig part of the Bombay High oil rigs, 70 km south-west of Mumbai. It was a part of six separate vessels which had been adrift at sea since Monday following the Cyclone Tauktae. All were connected with oil-drilling work or new projects at the Bombay High. The others are safe.
Also the number of persons on board the ill-fated barge ‘P305’ has been down revised from the 273 announced earlier to 261, the latest number. The Navy had initially said 273 were on board the barge and this was based on the first SOS message. The Oil and Natural Gas Commission clarified that the number on board the barge was 261. The Navy has confirmed the figure and now it has been revised to 261 on board before the accident.
A massive search operation is on for the past 48 hours. The first lot of rescued men arrived at Mumbai on board INS Kochi, the Indian Naval warship and a second lot of survivors would reach Mumbai tonight.
Warships, planes and helicopters continue their search for those missing at sea. INS Teg, INS Betwa, INS Beas are at location. Maritime reconnaissance plane the P8I, fitted with sharp sensors, is scanning the area. Helicopters with sensors are at location. All the copters can land on decks of the available ships at sea.
Meanwhile, the tugs of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) are towing the drill ship Sagar Bhushan and barge ‘Support Station 3’ to harbour. Food and drinking water has been being provided to crew on board these vessels by Indian Navy copters. The both care carrying 297 men on board.
Meanwhile, all the 137 personnel on barge GAL Constructor were rescued on Tuesday by the Navy and Coast Guard.
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