Nilam leaves TN shaken


A young marine engineer drowned at sea off Besant Nagar here and a sevenyear-old boy died in wall collapse near Arakkonam as the blustery cylone Nilam wreaked havoc on Wednesday along the coastal areas of north Tamil Nadu. Five crew members of the oil tanker MV Pratibha Cauvery, which had been pushed by the strong winds from outer anchorage to the beach, are still missing, Chennai port trust chairman Atulya Misra said.

The Coast Guard along with the state coastal security police and the local fishermen launched a massive rescue operation after the two lifeboats in which 22 crew members of the tanker in distress, capsized in the rough sea. The body of second-engineer Anand Mohan Doss, 31, was picked up from the waters while 16 others were rescued and rushed to the nearby Malar hospital. “All of them are stable, though three are in the intensive care unit. We are aspirating seawater from their lungs. They should pull through”, a senior doctor at Malar told DC.

Hailing from Marakanam close to Puducherry, Anand had joined the Mumbai-based shipping company only recently. “We do not have the phone numbers of his family, so we could only send them a telegram”, a company official said.

Anand was among the 22 crew members asked by ship captain Fernandez to desert the vessel in two lifeboats after the strong storm winds pushed the tanker perilously close to the coast. Both the lifeboats capsized. There are still 15 crew members on board the ship, including the captain. They will be picked up by helicopters on Thursday morning.

Class-two student Maguzhendi, son of a farmer in Muthur village near Arakkonam, about 80 km northwest of Chennai, was killed when a mud wall in his thatched house collapsed in the windy storm.

Over 100 trees, some of them old and huge, were uprooted by the storm in Chennai.

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