Colombo: Sri Lankan air force helicopters and naval vessels have been deployed in a joint rescue mission for fishermen caught in stormy weather off the south western coast of the island, relief officials said on Saturday.
At least six bodies of fishermen were washed ashore in the south western coastal areas of Dehiwela and Beruwela and 13 others injured were rescued in the southern coastal area of Balapitiya.
The fishermen had been missing since last night.
Their boats had capsized in strong winds and heavy rains caused by the activation of the south-west monsoon, Disaster Management Centre spokesman Sarath Lal Kumara said.
Several fishermen were rescued by an air force helicopter and an aircraft while the Navy divers off three vessels which had been deployed rescued more.
The Met Department has warned of monsoon winds upto 80 kph in the next 24 hours.
Angry fishermen also blocked the southern coastal railway track to protest, urging the authorities to launch the rescue mission.
The central city of Kandy received the highest rain fall of 148 millimetres while at least 200 houses in the south western district of Kalutara suffered partial or full damage due to gusty winds and rains.