MUMBAI: The Indian Navy carried out several rescue operations as cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc on life and property in many states of India.
Amid heavy downpour, which led to very low visibility and massive sea waves reaching a height of five-six metres that posed a huge challenge to their rescue operations, the Indian Navy managed to rescue as many as 188 people and recovered 37 bodies from barge P305, which sank in the Arabian Sea 35 nautical miles from Mumbai due to the cyclone.
Describing how the Indian Navy led the rescue operation, Commander Deepak Diwan said, “At midnight we got a call that P305 is in distress and we need to rescue the people. We prepared a crew and decided the area where the vessel was positioned. The weather was very marginal when we first took off in the early morning with winds gusting up to 50-60 km per hour.”
Speaking to ANI about the challenges that the Navy faced, the Commander said, “Pulling the aircraft out and launching the aircraft was a task in itself. We did it with safety and got airborne. Once we got airborne the weather was very-very marginal with heavy rains, visibility was close to nil and the sea waves were five-six metres.”
“We proceeded towards the area and started looking for the survivors. We positioned our helicopters on top of survivors. There were no reference points for pilots to hover. We did our best and we recovered people on board,” he added.
As per the Commanding Officer of INS Shikra, the Indian Navy provided as much as 400 kg of ration and water to one barge.
“On May 17 weather was so harsh that it was not conducive for our air operations. From 6:30 am on May 18 our ships went for rescue operations. We saved 39 survivors via air operations and provided more than 400 kg ration and water to a barge that was in distress,” said the Commanding Officer.
Indian Navy’s Captain Dushyanth Purohit informed that the officers practice for such operations every six months.
“Our ships are still conducting search and rescue operations. We conducted all the operations within the limits of the machine. Search and rescue operations are a very important mission for helicopters and we do practice this a lot in every six months,” said the Captain.
Meanwhile, RK Jenamani, senior scientist, National Weather Forecasting Centre, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday informed that cyclone Tauktae has significantly weakened.