Havelock: Evacuations begin as cyclone weakens
Hundreds of tourists stranded at the Havelock Islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago due to cyclone Thane have been rescued, an official said today.india Updated: Dec 29, 2011 01:38 IST
About 500 tourists were evacuated from Havelock Island to Port Blair on Wednesday after Cyclone Thane passed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands towards Tamil Nadu.
Nearly 700 domestic and foreign tourists had got stranded in Havelock Island since Sunday. Air and water transport to Port Blair had to be suspended due to bad weather after the cyclone formed over the Bay of Bengal.
Superintendent of Police (south Andamans), SBS Tyagi said on Wednesday, "Ship and sea-plane services were resumed after the weather turned somewhat favourable. An extra ship has been pressed into action."
Normally three ships ferry tourists from Port Blair to Havelok Islands at around 35-40 nautical miles every day, apart from seaplane and helicopter services. It takes an hour to reach the island from Port Blair in fast-moving catamarans.
A helicopter ride takes around 20 minutes.
Panic had gripped stranded tourists as the turbulent sea brought back memories of the 2004 tsunami that had hit the Andamans, devastating large parts and killing hundreds.
"The Thane moved westwards and lay about 500 km southeast of Chennai and 800 km northwest of Port Blair on Wednesday. On Tuesday, it was located around 650 km off the Port Blair coast," said GC Debnath, director of the Indian Meteorological Department's regional office in Kolkata.
The cyclone was weakening, added Debnath.
It is likely to hit the Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Cuddalore and Nellore on Friday.