Muscat: Five Indian crew members lost their lives when their fishing vessel was split in two by a cyclone in Omani waters. The boat had been ‘impacted' by Hikaa while it was still a cyclone off the coast of Oman, according to the Indian Embassy in Oman.
In a statement, the embassy said: "In an unfortunate incident, a fishing vessel was impacted by the cyclone off the coast of Oman, leading to the loss of the lives of all crew members.
“According to available information, the crew included five Indian nationals," the statement added. The bodies of three of the five crew have been found, and the Embassy added that it was "coordinating with Omani authorities and is in touch with family members" of the victims.
There were eight people in the fishing vessel – five Indians and three Bangladeshis, according to an official at the Indian Embassy in Muscat. The search continues for the rest of the crew. "The crew and ship left for sea on 17 September, and we were informed of this incident on 26 September," said the official.
"The incident took place near Khaluf, which is close to Duqm, and because of the cyclone, the boat was split in two. "One body was found on 27 September, and was taken to Sinaw hospital," he added. "The other two were found a day later and were transferred to Duqm hospital.
We have sent an embassy team to verify the identities of the bodies. The team have left Sinaw and reached Duqm only last night, so they will conduct their procedures in the morning."
The sponsors of the fishermen have also sent out small boats to scour the areas off Duqm and Masirah. "A big rescue ship has joined the search, which is ongoing," added the embassy official.
"The sponsors have also been very cooperative and have offered all the assistance required. I have been speaking to the Director of Fisheries in Tamil Nadu, where all five fishermen are from, so that if required, DNA testing of their blood relations in Oman can be done to verify their identity.
"We are also in touch with our honorary consul in Masirah, Dr Jaleel, and a report on the fatalities has been filed at the police station on Masirah Island," he added. "Once the bodies have been recovered, they will be moved to Muscat for the autopsy. The Indian Embassy will be coordinating the efforts. All of the local authorities have been extremely helpful, and I want to thank them for their cooperation."