Bengal trawler tragedy: Search operations resume

October 31st, 2010 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kakdwip (West Bengal), Oct 31 (IANS) Divers resumed search operations Sunday morning to look for survivors and victims of the trawler tragedy in West Bengal that has claimed 18 lives so far. Over 100 people are still missing.

“The search operation has started this morning. Coast Guard, Kolkata Port Trust and the disaster management wing of the state government are on the job,” said state Civil Defence Minister Srikumar Mukherjee, who was at the accident site near the confluence of the Bay of Bengal and river Muriganga.

The trawler, sailing to Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas from Hijli Sharif in East Midnapore district, capsized Saturday morning near Ghoramara island.

About 50 people have been rescued so far, of whom 32 have been admitted to the Kakdwip sub-divisional hospital.

“We have not been able to find any survivors so far today (Sunday). But we are conducting extensive searches. And if anybody is still alive, and has taken shelter in any nearby island, we will surely find him,” Mukherjee said.

Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy, who also went to the accident site, said sophisticated vessels have been pressed into service by his department for the search operation.

Roy, however, accused the state government of having failed to put in place a proper disaster management system to tackle such tragedies.

Family members of the missing passengers, meanwhile, accused the administration of not doing enough to save the victims.

“What is the administration doing? If they had started the search operations little early on Saturday many lives could have been saved,” said Mastafa Sheikh, whose brother was in the trawler and is still missing.

The search operations were stalled Saturday night due to darkness.

According to the survivors, the trawler capsized with around 150-250 passengers on board.

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