Thiruvananthapuram: It is not the first time Kerala fishermen have faced a turbulent sea, but the sheer ferocity of Cyclone Ockhi has shaken them badly.
Trapped in violent waters, with no food or water, desperate eyes searching for help in the middle of a turbulent sea -- sum up the helplessness of the fishermen.
Though many fishermen were brought ashore safely and admitted to hospitals, many are yet to recover from the shock of wrestling the lashing waves and seeing death face-to-face.
Cyclone Ockhi, which has claimed 14 lives in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, made a landfall in Lakshadweep in Arabian Sea on Saturday and is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours, the Met department has warned.
Authorities including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Coast Guard and Navy have rescued about 223 fishermen and evacuated thousands of people from cyclone hit areas.
Stephan, a fisherman hailing from Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram, said he was terrified on seeing a rescue boat move away without seeing them and hearing their cries.
“It was the first time we were experiencing such huge waves and a rough sea. Luckily, the rescue boat came back and saved us,” Stephan, who is recuperating at the Government Medical College Hospital here, said.
Most of the rescued fishermen had bruises all over their bodies and were seen shivering and begging for hot water and food when brought ashore.
Titus, another fisherman hailing from Neendakara in Kollam district, said he had never seen such a violent sea even in movies.
He said strong winds virtually threw them in the sea and that they somehow managed to hold on to the boat, till the rescue team arrived.
His fellow fisherman Kennedy said their boat drifted aimlessly for around 100 km in the gusty winds.
Meanwhile, anxious families of fishermen, who are yet to return, expressed their anguish and protested by holding roadblocks in various places here.
The weeping women said they were waiting with prayers and tears for their loved ones to return....