Cyclone Tauktae: All persons on board P-305 and Varapada accounted for
BL Soni/ FPJ Photo

Mumbai, May 24: All the crew members of Barge P-305 and tug boat Varaprada which capsized because of Cyclone Tauktae have been accounted for. The Indian Navy recovered 70 bodies while 8 bodies each washed ashore the coastline of Raigad district in Maharashtra and Valsad in Gujarat. Verification process of these bodies to ascertain that they were from the two boats is happening, said Navy officials.

The Navy had launched a massive search and rescue operation after barge P-305 with 261 crew members sunk at Arabian sea, 70 nautical mile from Mumbai, after being hit by Cyclone Taukate. Later a tug boat Varaprada, which was send for the rescue of Barge Gal Constructor, with 13 people on board also sank due to the cyclone.

A total 274 crew members were reported missing, of which 261 were of P-305 while 13 were from Varaprada. The Navy operation saw 188 persons being rescued including two from Varaprada.

Of the 78 bodies received by the Mumbai police, so far 49 bodies have been identified while 21 are yet to be identified. The police are taking their DNA samples which will be matched with their relatives for identification.

Meanwhile, the Navy Ship INS Makar employed advanced side scan sonar on Monday, locating tug boat Varaprada around 35 nautical miles from Mumbai. Shortly after locating the boat, the Navy divers conducted an underwater search operation to locate anyone trapped inside. On Sunday, the Navy divers searched wrecked barge P-305 and did not find any bodies stuck inside the rooms of the barge.

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