New Delhi, May 20 (EFE).- The Indian Navy on Thursday continued its desperate search operation for any possible survivors after recovering 37 bodies from a barge that sank off Mumbai with 273 people aboard earlier this week.
The searchers aided with naval ships and surveillance helicopters have so far rescued 188 people while the hunt for the missing 48 continues in the waters off the coast, a navy spokesperson said.
“Indian Navy ships and aircraft continue to search for the missing crew members,” the spokesperson tweeted, adding that the coast guard had also joined the efforts.
The barge went adrift on Monday after the storm that formed on the Arabian Sea made landfall in the western state of Gujarat, carrying gusts of over 180 km per house.
The cyclone, Tauktae, also rammed through Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, Goa, and Karnataka in the south.
The storm triggered towering waves on the high seas and inundated the offshore oil rigs off Mumbai, sinking the barge around 35 nautical miles away from the financial capital of India.
In addition to the deaths on the sunken barge, the cyclone left 59 people dead during its passage as it wreaked havoc in the coastal states.
Officials on Wednesday confirmed that 45 people were dead in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.
At least six people died in neighboring Maharashtra and eight in Karnataka.
Heavy rains and winds disrupted the power supply in thousands of villages and caused extensive damage to some 16,500 homes, officials estimated.
The cyclone forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in Gujarat and around 12,500 in Maharashtra.
Tauktae added to woes as India registers a record number of daily Covid-19 infections and deaths amid a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
The country set a new record of more than 4,500 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours from Tuesday morning, even as the number of new infections continued to decline.
Vaccination drive got suspended in many cyclone-hit areas as the storm also put hospitals at risk.
Cyclones often hit the Indian coast, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
Seven people lost their lives when Cyclone Burevi struck southern Indian last December, damaging hundreds of homes.
In May 2020, Super-Cyclone Amphan killed more than 100 people in India and Bangladesh. EFE