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Last Updated Thursday January 18 2018 05:36 PM IST

Kerala minister brushes off allegations of apathy, says 33 fishermen rescued

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Kerala minister brushes off allegations of apathy, says 33 fishermen rescued Janadhipathya Kerala Congress leader Antony John talks to protesting fisherfolk in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued 33 fishermen and have located another 70 following the bad weather conditions that hit Kerala and Tamil Nadu coasts a day ago, Kerala fisheries minister J. Mercykutty said on Friday.

Several people were killed on Thursday after Cyclone Ockhi hit the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu due to a depression formed over southwest Bay of Bengal near the Sri Lankan coast.

It has moved westwards and intensified into a deep depression.

Mercykutty told IANS: "It's wrong to say that the fishermen are missing. The rescue teams have already saved 33, while 70 of them, who are currently still caught in the deep sea have started to respond to the messages that have been send to them.”

Tumultuous sea

Muthappan, a fisherman from near the Thiruvananthapuram airport who was rescued, told the media that he and four others were in a boat and around 2 pm on Thursday, things started turning dangerous in the deep sea.

"We were thrown out of the boat and while four of them held on to the boat that was overturned, another person was holding on to the kerosene barrel.

"It was only after three hours that we were rescued by another boat," said Muthappan, who was admitted to the general hospital.

Vincent, another rescued fisherman, said that they had left the sea shore around 10 am Thursday. "When we had traveled around 10 nautical miles into the sea, things took a turn for the worse.

"It was a nightmare as massive waves were smashing all around and the boat that we were on, after holding on for an hour, lost balance and overturned.

"While five of us after an hour were rescued, we have no idea of what happened to the two others who were with us," said Vincent, who was spotted at the Vizhinjam beach, here.

Angry groups of fishermen in the coastal villages in Poovar, Vizhinjam  and Kovalam have threatened to block the highway, if rescue operations were not intensified.

However, the minister brushed off the allegations of apathy, and said the state government acted in quick time.

Read more: Latest Kerala news | Man clings on to wooden plank and life off Kerala coast | Video

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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