Kolkata: About 600 pilgrims stranded in the ocean in West Bengal since last night are being rescued, officials have said. The pilgrims were on their way to Gangasagar, the confluence of the Hooghly River and the Bay of Bengal, when their ferries got stuck in the ocean near Kakdwip due to a low tide and dense fog.
The Indian Coast Guard has deployed boats to rescue the stranded pilgrims, officials said. Lakhs of people from across the country gather at Sagar Island in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas every year on Makar Sakranti to take a dip in Gangasagar, the confluence of the Hooghly River and the Bay of Bengal, a West Bengal minister said on Sunday. The auspicious timing for taking the holy dip began at 6.53 pm on Saturday and continued till sunset on Sunday.
West Bengal| 2 passenger ferries carrying 500 to 600 pilgrims from Gangasagar were stranded in ocean due to fog & low tide since last night. State administration sent relief items for the pilgrims & two Hovercrafts of the Indian Coast Guard conducting the rescue operation pic.twitter.com/DCwl5zWFaS
— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2023
More than 51 lakh pilgrims from across the state and the country have visited Gangasagar in the last few days till 4 pm on Sunday, minister Aroop Biswas said, adding 10 lakh more were on their way to Sagar Island. They took a holy dip at the confluence after offering puja at Kapil Muni Ashram.
He said a total of seven people have died of heart attacks at the fair in the last few days, including two pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh during the day. A total of 125 pilgrims are undergoing treatment at various hospitals on Sagar Island after falling ill due to various reasons, while 25 others have been shifted to Kolkata for better treatment. The movement of vessels from the mainland to the island was suspended from 8 pm on Saturday to 9 am on Sunday due to thick fog, he said.