THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The death toll in Ockhi cyclone in the state increased to 66 after 12 more bodies were recovered on Wednesday. While nine bodies were recovered from Beypore in Kozhikode, a body each was retrieved from Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram.
After a Cabinet meeting here, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said search operations for the missing fishermen will be intensified further. He said defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had called up on Tuesday to assure all help in intensifying search operations by navy, coast guard and air force. There is still lack of exact information about the number of missing fishermen. According to state control room the number of missing fishermen stood at 95. However, Latin archdiocese reiterated that 250 fishermen were still missing including 100 who went in small boats.
Kochi: A total 128 more fishermen hit by the Ockhi Cyclone have returned to Kochi. With this the number of fishermen who returned safe has gone up to 2,527. An official release said, 12 boats also returned on Wednesday taking the total number boats returned to 232. Sixteen boats from Kochi are yet to return. Two more dead bodies were found on Wednesday. Out of this one has been kept in the mortuary of Tripunithura government hospital after post-mortem. The other body found from Munambam comes under the jurisdiction of Azheekkaal coastal police in Thrissur district. So far nine dead bodies have been recovered in the district and out of this seven are yet to be identified. Two of these are in Ernakulam general hospital, four in Tripunithura government hospital and one at Aluva government hospital.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said the search teams were trying to retrieve bodies from deep sea. They are also following up information given by fishermen about bodies floating in sea. He said apart from the dead, there were many fishermen who had suffered grievous injuries and total loss of fishing gear. While some went in big fishing boats, many also went in small boats. Normally the fishermen going by large boats remain in sea for longer period even weeks. But majority of them who are yet to return, are those who went by small boats, he said.
The Chief Minister said majority of the persons who died in the cyclone have been identified. But still there were bodies in mortuaries in Thiruvananthpuram and Kozhikode which remain unidentified. DNA test and other modern scientific methods were being adopted to identify the victims. The defence personnel engaged in search operations are receiving inputs from fishermen about bodies floating off coast at some places. The teams are moving in such directions to retrieve bodies....