Thane: In a daring mid-sea operation the Coast Guard on Sunday airlifted to safety four fishermen who braved the choppy sea for over sixteen hours to stay afloat after their fishing trawler sank near Arnala Fort, around 60 kms from Mumbai.
The nightmare for six anglers from Arnala village began yesterday when their boat `Daya Sagar` capsized around 4-5 nautical miles off the coast.
While two crew members Ganesh Mhatre (21) and Prakash Mhatre (20) swam safely to the shore, Naresh Meher (45), Prakash Mhatre (30), Pandurang Mhatre (55) and Kedar Mhatre (26) clung onto the floating fishing buoy and thermocol pieces near the coast for around sixteen hours before being rescued this morning.
The Coast Guard plunged into action on receipt of an SoS about the mishap from the executive magistrate last night, saying while two of the four seamen swam safely to the shore, four others are missing, a coast Guard release said today.
"The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter, which carried out an extensive search this morning and spotted four persons clinging onto the floating fishing buoy and thermocol pieces near the coast," the release said.
The pilot-in-command made a daring rescue plan, in which, he took a decision of winching of all four fishermen from the choppy seas, despite inclement weather.
"The Coast Guard air crew diver dived into the sea and ensured all four fishermen were safely winched up in the helicopter at 7.10 am today," it said, adding all the four fishermen were dropped at Arnala coast by the helicopter.
The district administration which earlier came up with a rescue plan had to abandon it due to inclement weather and darkness.
The fishermen were rushed to a local hospital and are doing well, local MLA Vivek Pandit said.