Barge P305 toll rises to 70 after Navy recovers four bodies today; search for 16 personnel underway-India News , Firstpost

Officials added that the identities of 14 bodies recovered along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts in the last few days are yet to be ascertained

Representational image of rescue operations from 20 May. Twitter@indiannavy

Mumbai: The toll on barge P305 which sank during Cyclone Tauktae fury rose to 70 on Sunday with the recovery of four more bodies, the Navy said, adding it is continuing the search for 16 more believed missing from the barge and tugboat Varaprada.

The list of those missing may get a lot shorter if it is confirmed that the 14 bodies recovered along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts in the last few days are those of the barge and tugboat personnel, an official said.

“Those found ashore are yet to be identified,” the official said. While eight bodies were recovered on Raigad coast in Maharashtra, six were found on Valsad coast in Gujarat.

Navy divers on Saturday located the wreckage of P305. The barge which had 261 personnel on board, sank on Monday. While 70 are dead and 186 rescued so far, there is no trace yet of five personnel.

There is also no trace yet of 11 of the 13 personnel who were on board tugboat Varaprada, which also went adrift due to the cyclonic storm. Two persons on Varaprada have been rescued so far.

Barge P305 was located on the seabed after systematic search by INS Makar employing advanced side scan sonar.

The search for the missing personnel will continue through the night, the official said. The Navy also deployed specialised diving teams to boost the search and rescue (SAR) operations.

While all the 440 persons on barges Gal Constructor and Support Station 3 (SS-3) and drillship Sagar Bhushan were brought ashore to safety recently, Naval and Coast Guard vessels and aircraft scoured the waters off the Mumbai coast as the search and rescue operations entered the seventh day on Sunday.

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