Bengal trawler tragedy toll rises to 69

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

KAKDWIP - The death count in the West Bengal trawler capsize in the Muriganga river rose to 69 Tuesday, as divers and locals fished out three more bodies during search operations. Sixty-two people are still missing.

“The death toll is now 69. Till Monday, 66 bodies were found, and three more corpses have been found this morning - two by hovercraft and one by a rescue boat,” South 24-Parganas additional district magistrate (relief) Nilanjan Shandilya told IANS Tuesday.

The trawler ferrying 220 people, mainly Muslim pilgrims, to Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas from Hijli Sharif in East Midnapore district, capsized Saturday morning in the mouth of Muriganga River where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. Eighty-nine people have been rescued so far.

As more than 62 hours have passed since the trawler capsized in the river near Ghoramara island, 150 km south of Kolkata, all the bodies were bloated and disfigured.

The search operations involved divers from the Indian Navy, the coast guard and the Kolkata Port Trust. The divers worked tirelessly despite a strong water current and low visibility due to a cloud cover. “This hampered the work of the divers,” an official said.

A helicopter and a hovercraft have been deployed to help in the search.

Hundreds of people are thronging the Kakdwip sub-divisional hospital and the banks of the Muriganga in search of their relatives.

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