THE DAILY TELEGRAMS, January 11, 2009
20 in distress reported by sighted Tilangchang isles
ANC launches search & rescue operation
Port Blair, Jan 10
The Andaman and Nicobar Command launched a Search and Rescue mission in response to a message received from the Harbour Master about some persons who were sighted on Tilanchang Island apparently in distress. The message received by the Joint Operations Center (JOC) at the Headquarters Andaman & Nicobar Command said that a merchant fishing vessel MFV Periyavar had reported sighting approximately 20 persons on the Tilangchang Island in the Great Nicobar. The persons were seen waving hands, making fire and smoke signals for help.
The Andaman and Nicobar Command responded with alacrity. Besides alerting the Coast Guard for immediate action, a MI-8 helicopter from the Carnic Air Force station was immediately launched at 0915 hrs to scout the area and assess the situation. The helicopter reported sighting of about 50 survivors towards the South-Western part of the Tilangchang Island.
In the meantime, a request for assistance in search and rescue was also received from SHO Nancowrie. Accordingly, a team of 12 Naval Sailors led by one Officer from the Naval Base at Kardip accompanied a team of local police by seven police personnel and SHO Nancowrie proceeded to Tilangchang by a speedboat. The team reached the island by 1730 hrs. The team had proceeded ashore when reports last came in. Simultaneously, a Coast Guard Ship, CGS Akkadevi, which was operating around Little Andaman, has also been directed to move towards Tilangchang Island.
The Joint Operations Centre at the Andaman and Nicobar Command is monitoring all developments round the clock and no effort will be spared by the Command towards the operation, an ANC release says.
THE DAILY TELEGRAMS, January 12, 2009
150 rescued in ANC search & rescue operation
Port Blair, Jan 11
The Search and Rescue operation launched by Andaman and Nicobar Command yesterday off Tilangchang Island has resulted in rescue of 150 persons stranded on the island. The team of 12 Naval Sailors led by one Officer from the Naval Base at Kardip accompanied a team of seven local police personnel and SHO Nancowrie to Tilangchang by a speedboat and reached there by 1730 hrs yesterday. The team then proceeded ashore and rescued 25 persons during the night itself. On questioning, it was revealed that these persons were of Bangladesh nationality and that they were part of a group of a total of 150 persons stranded on Tilangchang. The rescue team utilized their Gemini boat and two fishing boats in the vicinity to rescue all 150 persons.
Preliminary questioning of the survivors has revealed that a total of 580 people from Bangladesh had tried to illegally migrate to Thailand but had been allegedly apprehended by the Thailand security forces. They were then divided into batches and set adrift in five boats without engines. The 150 people rescued on Tilangchang were in one such boat which had capsized, leaving them stranded on the island for the last four days.
The rescued persons were administered First Aid at the Community Health Centre at Kamorta and were also provided food by the police. One person suffering from snake-bite was also given requisite treatment, and his condition is reported to be stable.
All the rescued persons were shifted onboard Coast Guard Ship Akkadevi for onward deportment to Port Blair. Five police personnel have also embarked the ship as escorts. CGS Akkadevi left harbour by 1700 hrs this evening and is expected to arrive at Port Blair by the evening of 12 Jan. On arrival, the survivors will be handed over to the police and local administration for further investigations. The Joint Operations Centre at the Andaman and Nicobar Command is monitoring the progress of the operations, an ANC release received here tonight says.