14 dead, over 70 others missing after accommodation barge sinks in cyclone-hit waters off Western India

Photo: Indian Navy

Indian authorities have confirmed that 14 people were killed after their vessel sank in bad weather off the country’s west coast on Monday, May 17.

The accommodation barge P305, which was operating at the Bombay High oilfield under contract with India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, had gone adrift in the Arabian Sea and was eventually sunk by rough waves caused by Cyclone Tauktae some 35 nautical miles off Mumbai.

By Wednesday, May 19, ships and helicopters of the Indian Navy have been able to rescue 186 personnel from the barge despite the extreme weather conditions brought about by the cyclone, which local meteorologists have claimed is the strongest recorded storm ever to hit the country’s west coast.

Navy officials said the bodies of 14 personnel have been recovered from the waters where the barge eventually sank. The deceased individuals have since been brought to Mumbai for identification.

Officials added that they expect the death toll to climb in the coming days as more than 70 of the barge’s occupants are still missing.

The navy said that search and rescue (SAR) operations will continue in the area despite the diminishing likelihood that additional survivors will be found.

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