Search operations to rescue missing persons on board the ill-fated trawler which capsized in the Muriganga river at Talpatti island in East Midnapur district killing at least 18 persons resumed this morning.
Sunderbans Development Minister Kanti Ganguly who was overseeing rescue operations said the operations, which were called off last night, resumed at 4.30 AM.
Four fish finding machines, requisitioned from the naval headquarters in Vizag, were trying to locate the exact spot where the trawler capsized, the minister said.
He said the government had also sought the help of navy divers who were expected to join the rescuers later in the day.
The marine police, coastguard and hovercraft had been pressed into operation with helicopters maintaining air surveillance, Ganguly said
Eighteen persons, including 15 women and three girls, drowned when the trawler capsized. Forty-five people, including a nine-year old girl, were rescued yesterday.
Those rescued were rushed to Kakdwip block hospital.
Five bodies have been identified so far and all of them hailed from Kakdwip. The boatsmen of the ill-fated boat are yet to be traced, official sources said.
The trawler along with two others, overloaded with pilgrims, was returning to Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas from Hijli Sharif, opposite Sagar Island, in East Midnapore district.
Those rescued were rushed to Kakdwip block hospital, he said.
The area is near the Bay of Bengal and and there are strong currents in the river, sources said.
Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting C M Jatua, Zilla Parishad chief Shamima Sheikh and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chattopadhyay rushed to Kakdwip to oversee operations.
Sheikh announced a compensation of Rs. two lakh each to the families of the victims.