Cyclone Tauktae: Death toll in Arabian Sea barge tragedy reaches 37

Mumbai: The death toll in the barge tragedy near Bombay High Fields increased to 37 with 11 more bodies recovered and brought to shore, officials said here on Thursday.

On Wednesday, at least 26 persons on board the drifting Barge Papaa-305 were found dead in the stormy Arabian Sea in the aftermath of Cyclone Tauktae.

Another 40-plus persons are still missing for whom searches continue, as the Centre ordered a probe into the tragedy.

The 37 bodies have been brought to Mumbai by Indian Navy ships which had gone on dare-devil rescue missions for the past 72 hours.

The Union Ministry for Petroleum & Natural Gas late on Wednesday ordered setting up of a high-level committee to probe the sequence of events leading to the stranding of ONGC vessels in the Cyclone Tauktae, etc in and around the Bombay High Fields, around 175 kms off Mumbai.

A total of 261 persons were on board Pappa-305, an accommodation barge that sank late on Monday.

The Afcons Infrastructure Ltd (AIL), which had contracted the sunken barge, expressed regrets over the fatalities in the high seas and said its immediate focus is to locate and rescue the remaining missing personnel on priority.

“The safety and wellbeing of our people are our topmost priority, and we’re doing everything possible to address this unprecedented crisis. We know nothing can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one, but we will extend our fullest support including financial assistance to the bereaved families in this hour of their need,” the AIL added.


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