The fate of four fishermen, who went missing after their boat sank when they were fishing on the high seas at the early hours of Sunday, was still not known as two search teams returned to the shore after making a vain bid to trace them last evening.
Four Rameswaram fishermen – Sudalaimani, Anthonysamy, Ramasamy and Muniasamy – who were fishing south off Katchatheevu island went missing after their trawler sank as water seeped into the vessel through a broken wooden plank, The Hindu reported.
The fishermen gave a distress call after the boat started sinking around 3.30 a.m. on Sunday, but before other fishermen fishing in the area could reach the spot, the boat sank and they could not trace the fishermen on board, U. Arulanandham, president of Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), said.
Murugan, owner of the, after obtaining search order from the fisheries department sent a search team on Sunday morning but the team returned empty-handed late on Sunday evening. Eight fishermen in two boats began a search on Monday but they too could not trace the fishermen, he said.
They could recover only an ice box containing prawns, believed to be the catch of the missing fishermen, found floating on the high seas, he said.
Initial reports suggested that the four fishermen swam to safety and reached Katchatheevu but the Office of the Consulate General of India in Jaffna clarified that no fisherman was seen in the islet. Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen also said that they could not see any stranded fishermen, Mr. Arulanandham added.