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Cyclone Ockhi: Two Men Stranded in Sea for 30 Hours Narrate Stories of Death and Hopelessness

A total of 462 fishermen from Kanyakumari district are missing along with several others from Kerala in the aftermath of cyclone Ockhi.

Revathi Rajeevan | News18

Updated:December 13, 2017, 1:08 PM IST
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Cyclone Ockhi: Two Men Stranded in Sea for 30 Hours Narrate Stories of Death and Hopelessness
Fishermen rescued from a capsized boat by the combined effort of Rescue teams of the IAF, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
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Thoothoor, Kanyakumari: It almost looked like someone was enacting scenes from the ‘Life of Pi’ as Josabath and Salo floated in the sea for over thirty hours straight until a ship found them in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi.

The two men who hail from Thoothoor Village in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu had ventured into the sea on November 29 along with two others. Twenty three hours later, their boat capsized and for over two days, they had death staring in their eyes.

A little before the ship managed to spot the two survivors, Josabath’s brother breathed his last on the same boat.

The number of deaths caused by Ockhi, which hit the Kerala coast, rose to 52 on Tuesday as more bodies were recovered and the search for the missing fishermen in the high seas continued.

A total of 462 fishermen from Kanyakumari district are missing along with several others from Kerala in the aftermath of cyclone Ockhi. Protests have been rife seeking immediate action to rescue these men who have been missing for several days.

Stepping out of his room with drowsy eyes, Josabath says, "I am unable to sleep at night and have nightmares now. The scene just keeps replaying in front of my eyes and I wake up every time I try to sleep, the exact moment when I had to let his hand slip away from mine."

Sola and Josabath have injury marks all over their body inflicted by their boat that kept hitting them as the waves see-sawed it from all sides.

"We tied whatever clothes we had to the boat and held on to it tightly when the cyclone hit us, but with more time passing by, I wanted to give up. But we had already lost two men and had I given up too, Josabath wouldn't have survived. We had to be there for each other," says Salo.

More than 48 hours after they set out for the sea, the two men were blinded by the time they entered the ship and could not see anything for almost two days.

Josabath’s wife, Lourder Mary says, "We received a call from the medical college. We could see that his face was unrecognisable, all swollen when I saw him."

The two survivors say, had the ship been an hour late, they wouldn't have made it alive. There was no way for them to swim to the shore or use the boat that had turned turtle when the cyclone hit them.

"I had hope. I knew he wouldn't leave us and go," says Beena, Salo's wife.

Thirty four-year-old Salo has been familiar to the sea since he was 15 years old, just like Josabath. Although much more experienced than Salo, Josabath says he had never seen something like this before. The two are now scared of the sea. "Even the slightest wind or wave scares me now," Josabath says.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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