The Indian navy says it has so far recovered the bodies of 37 people from a barge that sank off Mumbai during a powerful storm that claimed 81 more lives on the country’s western coasts.
The barge, owned by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), was carrying 261 people when it sank near an offshore oilfield on Monday evening as Cyclone Tauktae blew ashore.
The navy, battling extreme weather, managed to rescue 186 people and found 15 more bodies in operations overnight, raising the toll in the tragedy to 37, navy spokesman Vivek Madhwal told dpa.
Thirty eight people were still missing but the death toll was likely to rise as hopes of finding survivors began to recede, with the rescue operation entering its fourth day on Thursday.
Amid cyclone Tauktae, a raft of smooth-coated otters were spotted at a stream in Belthangady, Dakshina Kannada. 🦦🌊
Locals claim to have spotted them back in Oct 2020. However, for the first time, more than 25 otters were spotted in daytime in the region during cyclone rains. pic.twitter.com/UqtMAR9oes
— Mangalore City (@MangaloreCity) May 19, 2021
Cyclone Tauktae, the strongest cyclone to strike the region in over two decades, packed winds reaching 200km/h when it made landfall in Gujarat state late Monday.
The death toll in other storm-related incidents – mostly house and tree collapses on the Indian coasts – rose to 81 on Thursday.
Fifty three were killed in Gujarat and 18 in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, state disaster management officials said.
Another 10 were killed in Goa, Karnataka and Kerala states.
Some 16,500 homes were damaged in Gujarat as the storm forced evacuations of more than 200,000 people and cut power for millions in the affected region.