Only Hamsakutty has been found. Four days ago, four fishermen including Hamsakutty had sailed into the sea from Ponnani of Kerala’s Malappuram. In the wee hours of the next morning - half past two at dawn - the boat capsized and the fishermen went missing. Only Hamsakutty got rescued. Demanding that the search for their missing co-workers be intensified, a number of fishermen blocked the national highway in Ponnani on Sunday, sitting down on the roads amid heavy rain. The protest lasted for several minutes after which the police came to talk peace with them.
Fisheries Department Deputy Director Chithra M said in a release that the search has been going on for the missing fishermen in the last three days. The search is happening under the guidance of the fisheries department and the Coast Guard. Fisheries and coastal police boats have been deployed for the search. The Kochi naval base has also helped, said the release.
The four men from Ponnani had gone for fishing on October 13 in a fibre boat. By 2.30 am on October 14, the boat capsized around 10 nautical miles west of Mandalamkunnu. The same day, Hamsakutty was found by fishermen who went to the sea from Beypore in Kozhikode. They informed the fisheries control room that Hamsakutty was safe, after which he was rescued and brought to shore.
By 6.30 pm on October 14, a coast guard ship was also deployed for the search. The next day, a helicopter of the coast guard also joined the search team. However, due to bad weather conditions on October 16 – when heavy rains lashed the state -- the search operation could only take place early in the morning, said the government press release. The search was resumed on the morning of October 17.
Watch: Fishermen protest in Ponnani
Fishermen, hailed heroes after their life-risking rescue missions during the devastating floods of 2018, have set out this year too to help those stranded amid rains and floods. Seven boats of fishermen went from Kollam to Pathanamthitta on Sunday to save stranded people.