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West Bengal: Indian Coast Guard rescues 182 pilgrims returning from Ganga Sagar Mela near Kakdwip

South 24 Paraganas: Indian Coast Guard (ICG) conducted a rescue operation by deploying hovercrafts from Haldia for the rescue of 182 pilgrims stranded on a grounded ferry near Namkhana, Kakdwip. The incident occurred in the early hours of January 16, 2024, when the pilgrims were returning from Ganga Sagar Mela after taking a holy dip on Makar Sankranti, and the ferry ran aground due to extremely poor visibility. "At about 0530 hrs on January 16, a message was received from District Magistrate, South 24 Paraganas, at Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 8 in West Bengal, intimating about the grounding of the ferry at sea near Kakdwip. The ferry vessel, namely MV Swasthya Sathi, was ferrying about 400 pilgrims from Ganga Sagar Mela on Sagar Island to Kakdwip," an official statement issued by the Indian Coast Guard read.
Upon receipt of the information, the operations team of the Coast Guard swung into action and after ascertaining the position immediately dispatched two ACVs (Hovercraft) from Haldia and Sagar island to provide rescue assistance. "The ACVs arrived at the incident site at about 0840 hrs on January 16, and after assessing the on-scene situation, an evacuation plan was finalised. Simultaneously, a Coast Guard Team also went to the stranded vessel to pacify the people, thereafter, the personnel were briefed about the evacuation plan," it said. "The hovercrafts started evacuating personnel at about 0850 hrs, to the nearest point at Lot No. 8 Jetty, Kakdwip. The hovercrafts completed the evacuation of 182 pilgrims onboard the ferry by 1100 hrs on January 16. Thereafter, the boat floated during high water and commenced movement with the remaining pilgrims under the guidance of ACVs to a safe destination," it added. 

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