Bengal trawler tragedy toll rises to 62 (Second Lead)

November 1st, 2010 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kakdwip (West Bengal), Nov 1 (IANS) Divers and locals fished out more than 30 bodies Monday from Muriganga river, as the death count soared to 62 in the West Bengal trawler tragedy. Over 100 people are still missing.

“The death toll is now roughly 62. But the count is increasing every minute,” South 24-Parganas district magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam told IANS.

The trawler ferrying nearly 200 people, mainly Muslim pilgrims, to Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas from Hijli Sharif in East Midnapore district, capsized Saturday morning in the mouth of Muriganga river.

Around 51 people have been rescued so far, of whom 32 are admitted to the Kakdwip sub-divisional hospital.

As more than 48 hours have passed since the trawler capsized in the river near Ghoramara island, 150 km south of Kolkata, all the bodies were bloated and disfigured.

Search operations, which were halted Sunday night due to darkness, resumed Monday morning, with divers from the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and the Kolkata Port Trust working tirelessly despite a strong water current and low visibility due to a cloud cover.

Police sources said the divers were approaching the spot where the trawler capsized - in the mouth of Muriganga river where it empties into the Bay of Bengal - from East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas district.

Two of the bodies were swept away 20 km from the spot, before locals fished them out at Nayachar in East Midnapore district, said Zila Parishad president Ranjit Mondal. Two more bodies were recovered by Coast Guard near Ghoramara.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday held a high-level meeting at Kakdwip and reviewed search operations. Later Sunday, Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee visited the area and met the family members of victims.

A helicopter and a hovercraft have been deployed to help in the search.

Hundreds of people are thronging the Kakdwip sub-divisional hospital and the banks of the Muriganga in search of their relatives.

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