Eighteen fishermen of Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, who were feared missing in Odisha, returned safely today.
They were trapped in a trawler near Paradip ahead of Cyclone Phailin. The men jumped from the trawler and swam to safety at Ersama in Jagatsinghpur district.
They were later taken to the district headquarters after providing medical aid, food, water and clothing by the district and Coast Guard authorities.
The fishermen were trapped around 4 km from Paradip. Though they had contacted the Coast Guard, rescue operations could not be conducted as the sea was extremely rough.
"Chief Minister Jayalalithaa instructed officials to take steps on a war footing to rescue the stranded fishermen in Odisha on October 12 noon when the issue was brought to her notice", a government release said.
The Coast Guard, Navy, Odisha government's Special Relief Commissioner and top officials of the Fisheries Department were requested to take immediate steps to rescue the fishermen by Tamil Nadu.
"The fishermen safely arrived at Ramadura, a coastal hamlet in Jagatsinghpur district near Paradip port," a state government release said.
Stating that there were difficulties in providing medial relief, food and drinking water to them as the hamlet was battered by Phailin, the release said.
Odisha officials were alerted about the situation. A rescue team with medical support facilities was soon rushed to the hamlet by the authorities.
The fishermen were engaged in deep sea fishing in Odisha for the past two years and had Astharanka fishing harbour as their base. Their boats "Jai Bhavanputra" and "Jai Bajrangbali" were duly registered with the Odisha Fisheries Department.
Since September 22, they were fishing in deep seas. When they came to know about the impending cyclonic storm they decided to get to the shore.
Coupled with the storm's fury, the fuel in their boats was also exhausted, stranding them in the sea. They informed their relatives in in Kanyakumari about their plight. The government was alerted in turn by them.
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