A fishing boat carrying 78 pilgrims, including 20 women and 18 children, was stranded near Gharapuri (Elephanta) after the engine of the boat stalled on Tuesday evening. The Indian Coast Guard came to the rescue of those stranded on the boat.
Coast Guard officials said most of the passengers had gone from Nhava Sheva to Gharapuri to offer prayers at the Shiva temple on the occasion of Mahashivratri.
Three to four nautical miles from Gharapuri, the boat’s engine stalled after sucking in a mud patch. “It was a fishing boat, and there were no life jackets available. Also, the boat had exceeded the capacity of passengers it could carry,” said a Coast Guard officer, requesting anonymity.
The incident came to light after pilgrims started panicking when water levels started to rise because of the high tide. Local police were alerted about the incident and the went to the spot on hired boats. They tried to pull the boat out with ropes, but because of the high tide they were unable to rescue the passengers.
It was then that the coast guard were informed. They launched a hovercraft from Belapur and rescued all passengers.
A fishing boat carrying 78 pilgrims was stranded near Gharapuri (Elephanta) in Mumbai after the engine of the boat stalled. (Photo credit: Coast Guard)
Inspector general SPS Basra of ICG said, “A helicopter and hovercraft were pressed into rescue mission and all passengers have been rescued from the boat.” The Coast Guard is planning to inform state authorities concerned of the possible danger associated with a fishing boats plying as a ferry in the region.
“We will write to the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) to cancel the license of fishing boats which are used to ferry passenger,” said a Coast Guard officer, requesting anonymity.