MANGALURU: Two fishermen died and four others are feared drowned after a fishing boat capsized in the Arabian Sea about 8 nautical miles off Alive Bagilu late on Monday evening. The deceased fishermen were identified as Panduranga Suvarna (58), Preetham (25), both residents of Bokkapatna Bengre. Their bodies were fished out after a search operation on Tuesday. The missing fishermen are Chinthan (21), also of Bokkapatna Bengre, Mohammed Hasainar (28), Mohammed Ansar (32) and Ziyaulla (36) from Kasaba Bengre.
The boat ‘Sri Raksha’, owned by Prashant, had left shore with 25 fishermen on board at 5 am on Monday and was expected to return the same night. When it didn’t reach till Tuesday morning, the boat owner tried to contact the fishers. Following this, a search operation was launched. Sources said the boat capsized after hitting a rock while some boat owners suspect that overloading of fish could also be a reason for the mishap.
Fishermen said while 19 fishermen escaped in the emergency boat soon after the incident took place, those dead and missing were resting in the cabin and hence could not escape. Panduranga Suvarna hailed from a poor family and was the sole bread winner. Preetham, who was working abroad, had returned to his native after the lockdown.
He started working on the boat a few months ago. Chinthan had to look after his entire family due to poverty. Ansar, who is still missing, had spoken to his daughter at 8 pm on Monday and his wife is in shock after she came to know about the tragedy.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an advisory to fishers not to venture into the deep sea on December 3 and 4 following heavy rainfall at isolated places in south coastal parts. Nitin Kumar, president of the Mangaluru Trawl Boat Owners’ Association, said more than 10 purse seine boats and Coast Guard personnel were involved in the rescue mission.
“We suspect that the missing fishers might have got trapped under the huge fishing net.” Sharath Ullal, a fishermen who was part of the rescue operation, said the search, which began on Tuesday, was suspended around 6 pm following high tides and it will be resumed on Wednesday. MLA Vedavyas Kamath and Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner K V Rajendra visited the harbour to take stock of the situation and spoke to the missing fishers’ kin.