“I struggled in mid-sea for almost two hours and was determined to face the rough weather.”
R. Velmurugan (28), who was one among the 14 fishermen on board a mechanised boat which collided head-on with a cargo ship from Singapore off Mangalore coast three days ago, returned home here on Thursday night.
“I struggled in mid-sea for almost two hours and was determined to face the rough weather,” he said.
On April 11, 14 fishermen including seven from Tamil Nadu and another seven from West Bengal and Assam ventured into the sea for deep sea fishing along the Mangalore coast on a mechanised boat owned by Jaffar of Kozhikode, Kerala.
On April 13, at around 11.30 a.m., when the sea was rough and the visibility was poor, the boat collided with the cargo ship 60 nautical miles off Mangalore coast.
In the melee, the boat capsized and all the fishermen aboard went missing. As the information reached, the Indian Coast Guard deployed helicopter and surveillance teams on a rescue operation. While the ICG retrieved three bodies, which were identified as Alexander (38), his father-in-law Manikdasan (60) from Kanniyakumari district and another fisherman from West Bengal (name unknown). The operation continued in the region in search of other missing fishermen.
Meanwhile, two fishermen including Velmurugan and Sunil Das from West Bengal, who were struggling in the mid-sea for over two hours, were spotted by some staff on board the Singapore cargo ship. Immediately, they rescued the duo safely. After first-aid, they were found to be normal.
The fisherman, Velmurugan reached home with the help of officials from the Tamil Nadu government. According to him, the whereabouts of three others, whose names were given as Palanivel, Vedamanikam and Balamurugan from Kannirajapuram, who were also on the same boat, were unknown.
On reaching home, some of the family members and the villagers appeared emotional and wept uncontrollably.