Seventeen Chinese sailors and one Myanmarese who had set sail from Haldia on
Friday got caught in the fury of Cyclone Phailin about 40 nautical miles
from the coast in the Bay of Bengal Saturday. They abandoned the ship, MV
Bingo, carrying iron ore, as it began to sink, got into a single lifeboat
and clung to dear life for 36 hours, as the wind and the waves tossed them
around and rescue efforts failed to trace them.
But they survived and made it to shore to tell their horror story, their
lifeboat drifting through it all and hitting an island near Balasore early
The seafarers in the lifeboat had just one mobile phone on them which was
working and had enough battery to make a call. And they used it to call
authorities in China. Those officials got in touch with the Chinese
consulate in Kolkata who in turn got in touch with the coast guard in
Haldia. The cellphone was traced through GPRS and the police station nearest
to the crew, in Bhogorai, Balasore, was informed.
All of them had bruises and cuts but their lifeboat was hardly damaged.
After getting first aid, they were expected to leave for Haldia.
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