Kolkata: Rabindranath Das, the master of a capsized fishing trawler who floated for five days clinging on to a bamboo pole in the turbulent Bay of Bengal without food and life jacket till he was rescued by a Bangladeshi ship in Chittagong coast, has been brought to the city for treatment.
In a virtual epic struggle against the forces of nature, Das survived solely on 'water when it rained' from July 6 — when his trawler was drowned in the sea during a storm — to July 10, when he was finally rescued by the crew of the ship MV Jawad.
Das, hailing from Narayanpur in South 24 Parganas district's Kakdwip, was the master of the trawler FB Nayan-I. He had set sail for the deep sea along with 14 fishermen on July 4.
Once the vessel capsized, three of the occupants got trapped in it, while Das and 11 others jumped into the sea, offloading fuel drums and tying them together with a bamboo pole and rope.
While all his 11 colleagues were drowned one after another over the next few days, Das displayed unbelievable resilience and grit to stay afloat.
Finally, he was spotted by the Bangaldeshi vessel near Chittagong on July 10. After a two-hour heroic effort, during which the ship even lost sight of him once, Das was finally rescued.
"All I can recollect now is that my trawler capsized and we jumped into the water and were floating. I did not eat during the entire time I was floating. There was intermittent rain and big waves. I drank water when it rained," Das said on Sunday, a day afer reaching Kolkata.
But amid the happiness and ecstacy over his miraculous survival, what hurts Das the most is the way his nephew got drowned only a couple of hours before he was rescued.
"We were floating together. He had a life jacket. But since he was very much scared, I was carrying him on my shoulders for days. But he drowned shortly before I was picked up by the ship," Das said.