The number of fatalities from a major cyclone on India’s west coast has jumped to at least 91 and the navy was searching for another 49 people missing at sea after a barge carrying offshore workers sank in the storm.
Cyclone Tauktae, which left a trail of destruction after sweeping in from the Arabian sea on Monday, is the latest storm in what experts say is a growing number of ever-bigger storms in the region because of climate change warming its waters.
The Indian defence ministry said on Wednesday night that navy ships, surveillance aircraft and helicopters had combined to rescue more than 600 people after waves up to eight metres (26ft) high hammered offshore oil installations.
But 26 bodies were also recovered while planes and helicopters were still searching for 49 workers missing from one of several support vessels that slipped its moorings in the storm and sank.
MK Jha, head of the navy’s western command, said the sea was so rough that they could not board life rafts.
Those rescued have “hope in their eyes but certainly, they are distressed… they have been battered by the sea conditions for multiple hours”, Jha told the NDTV news channel.
“We are lucky to be alive,” one crew member told AFP after he disembarked from a navy destroyer in Mumbai.
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SOURCE: The Guardian