Fifteen fishermen in two fishing boats, Himsagar and Krishna Sagar, were reported sinking at sea about seven nautical miles — 13km — from Umargam in Gujarat and 70 nautical miles — 130km — from North Mumbai at midnight on Sunday.
Sources said one of the boats had been flooded after sea water entered its the engine room. When the other boat tried to rescue it, the two collided and both sunk within minutes.
The local authority and fishermen appealed to the navy and coast guard officials for help.
“We received information in the wee hours of Monday and soon launched a Seaking 42B, an all-weather helicopter to search for survivors” said chief public relations officer, commander Rahul Sinha (defence).
“An Indian naval ship and an Indian coast guard ship were diverted towards the area” said Sinha.
A fishermen from Zai said the survivors swam 4km in the sea using buoys from the sunk trawlers and reached Vrindawan Studios on the coast of Umbargaon.In the meantime, another boat bearing fishermen reached the spot and the stranded fishermen were picked up safely, said a coast guard official.They have landed ashore, he added.
“The area is shallow and narrow so we sent a helicopter to carry out operations. The naval and coast guard ships have returned,” added the official.
The rescued fishermen are Babu Vanga,Sandip Umbarsade,Ladke Valva,Vipul Machchi,Govind Machchi,Suraj Machchi,Pritam Machchi,Vasant Sambar,Dattu Shingda,Sanjay Hadal,Vasta Rajad,Nawaz Pujara,Pravesh Vajas,Deu Varta and Lakshi Vanjara.
All the survivors have been admitted to a government hospital at Umbergaon as they were dehydrated and had consumed large quantities of sea water. They will be discharged on Monday afternoon. Their relatives will reach Umbergaon and escort them back home to Zai and other fishing villages in Talasari.