Three fisherman died after they consumed a liquid found in a container floating in the sea, mistaking it to be foreign liquor, fisheries department officials said on Sunday.
A 38-year old fishermen died onboard the boat itself, another aged 40 was declared brought dead at a hospital in Nagapattinam and a 26-year old man died while undergoing treatment on Sunday, they said.
They were among a group of six fishermen from the Rameswaram region that ventured into the sea from nearby Kodiakarai on March 1. Their bodies were brought to Rameswaram late on Sunday and buried.
According to the three others who accompanied, the fishermen had spotted the container on Saturday. They opened it and drank the liquor like substance inside. All three fainted some time later.
Other fishermen in the vessel, who did not consume the liquid, steered the boat to the coast and reached the shore on Sunday morning. Officials of the fisheries department, Coastal Security Group police and other authorities were conducting investigations, the sources said.
Rameswaram Fishermen association leader P Sesuraja visited Nagapattinam and made arrangements for bringing back the bodies of the three.