Battling extreme weather conditions, the Navy had rescued at least 186 survivors and recovered 26 bodies from barge P305 that sank in the Arabian Sea 35 nautical miles from Mumbai under the impact of Cyclone Tauktae on Wednesday.
As the search operation for the missing continued, the rescued crew members and workmen of barge P305 thanked the Navy for saving their lives and recalled the horrors they faced in the sea before they were saved.
A resued crew member Swapnil Sawant, saluted the Navy for saving his life and said, "the situation was very critical. The waves were very high. I salute the Navy for saving our life by putting themselves in danger."
One of the rescued workman, Amit Kumar Kushwaha, said he was floating in the sea for 11 hours, battling for his life when they were rescued. "The Barge was sinking, so I had to jump into the sea. I was in the sea for 11 hours holding on to my life jacket when the Navy rescued us," said Amit Kumar Kushwaha.
Another rescued workman, who was severely injured before being rescued from the sea, broke down and said none of his colleagues would be alive if not for the Navy. "A very big thanks to Navy official. I am alive because of them. Nobody would have been alive if not for them," he said.
Vikas Kumar, who was also injured when the barge was sinking said, "I jumped in the sea when the barge was sinking and injured my leg badly. I would have died if not for the Navy."
The Navy also rescued two more persons from a tugboat, Varaprada, which went adrift in the Arabian Sea due to the cyclonic storm.
The people on board two other barges and an oil rig are also safe, said navy personnel on Wednesday.
The Barge P305 started drifting after its anchors gave way off the Heera Oil Fields in Bombay High as cyclonic storm Tauktae brushed past the western coast.
The rescue operations by the navy were undertaken in extreme weather conditions and in very rough seas.
The cyclone's intensity has weakened on Wednesday but rains continued for the most part of the day.
Cyclone Tauktae has impacted the weather conditions in several parts of Northern India including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi where heavy rainfall was witnessed.