Elephanta island  incident

Ranjit Mahanti

COAST Guard hovercraft ACV H-194 rescued 78 persons from near Elephanta Islands (in Mumbai Harbour) at 5:50 PM today. The vessel, Navrang, was an over-crowded boat without any life saving equipment on board and was stranded in low tide.

Accordign to defense spokesperson, in view of Shiv Ratri celebration, local passenger craft named Navrang ferried 78 persons from Nhava Sheva consisting of 40 male, 20 female and 18 children to Gharapuri, Someshwer Shiva temple located at the south of Elephanta Island in the morning on 17 Feb 15. On completion of the visit to the temple, all passengers boarded the vessel Navrang at about 3:30 PM for return passage to Nhava Sheva. The vessel while maneuvering to leave the jetty, hit a submerged mud patch which rendered the engines dysfunctional. The over-crowded boat subsequently started to become unstable. The passengers were not in a position to reach safety due to rising tidal water and surrounding depths. The vessel intimated their condition to the local police for immediate rescue. One police boat and two civil hired boats were immediately sent to the area which proved ineffective due to treacherous navigation situation. The police subsequently intimated Coast Guard Regional Headquarters at 1630 hrs.

As a hovercraft is not restricted by shallow water, Indian Coast Guard hovercraft H-194 commanded by Commandant Sandeep Safaya, was launched with medical and relief without wasting any precious time from Belapur Hover Port at 5:05 PM. The hovercraft reached the stranded vessel at 5:24 PM and rescued all 78 passengers from the stranded boat by 5:36 PM. The timely rescue of the passengers by Indian Coast Guard averted any untoward incident. All the rescued personnel were provided with relief and were thereafter taken to Belapur Hover Port for disembarkation.

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