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Coast Guard rescues 102 from Andaman Sea, 310 feared dead
Port Blair | Sunday, Dec 28 2008 IST
 
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Indian Coast Guard rescued altogether 102 Bangladeshi and Myanmarese nationals from a non-mechanised boat, but nearly 310 others are feared dead, Inspector General S P Sharma, Commander of Andaman and Nicobar Coast Guard Region, informed here today.

As per the information collected from the people, who were rescued on Saturday, there were altogether 412 people onboard a non-mechanised boat drifting in the Bay of Bengal since nearly the last 15 days. When on the intervening night of December 24 and 25 they sighted some shore lights, around 300 of them reportedly jumped into the sea hoping to swim across the shore.

''One of them reached the Little Andaman Island and told police about others. To confirm the story and rescue other people on that drifting boat we launched a search and rescue operation,'' Mr Sharma told meiapersons.

The Coast Guard soon narrowed the search by calculating the area of drift as per the story of the Bangladeshi Nationals and oceanic current.

''We diverted our ship ICGS Varad and ICGS Bhikaji Cama towards the place, which is nearly 10 miles south of Little Andaman Island.

Coast Guard aircraft 747 later located the boat on Saturday morning near Little Andaman with 88 people and we rescued them with our ship ICGS Varad,'' IG Sharma added.

The Coast Guard aircraft also located 11 people waving fanatically at a nearby area called Sandy Point. These people, along with nearly 300 others, had jumped into the sea on the intervening night of December 24 and December 25. ICGS Bhikaji Cama later rescued those 11 people. Two more people were apprehended from Little Andaman Island.

Meanwhile, Andaman and Nicobar Police, together with Coast Guard, have launched massive combing operation or Hut Bay and nearby Islands to trace out other missing 310 people.

''It puzzles me that if they were 412 and we got 102 of them, where the rest 310 are? They might have drowned as during night the distance appears very short and most of them were weak and might have failed to reach the shore. But we have neither got any more survivors nor any body since yesterday,'' the Coast Guard top Officer added.

The Survivors told Coast Guard that they were actually going to Malaysia from Bangladesh illegally. Each one of them paid 20,000 to 25,000 Taka, to an agent of Bangladesh called Maulaya-a-durugib.

-- (UNI) -- 28CA19.xml

 

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