Missing landing craft found by Indian navy

Missing landing craft found by Indian navy
May 21 13:38 2017

A landing craft that went missing with six people onboard last week was found Saturday night with the help of the Indian navy.

The Maria-3 vessel was located 130 nautical miles north-east of the island of Isdhoo in Laamu atoll by an Indian navy aircraft, according to the Maldives National Defence Force.

The six people – Maldivian captain Adam Naeem, his wife Zuleyha Usman and four foreign crewmembers – are safe and unharmed. The landing craft was being led to Malé by an Indian navy vessel at the time of publication.

The MNDF coastguard launched a search and rescue operation when the landing craft went missing en route to the island of Gan in Laamu atoll after unloading harbour construction material at the island of Thulusdhoo near Malé.

The captain was reportedly taking his wife to the island of Vilufushi in Thaa atoll on the way to Gan.

The landing craft, owned by a Sri Lankan company, left Thulusdhoo on Tuesday and was reported as missing to the coastguard Thursday night after the company was unable to establish communications for nearly two days.

The coastguard later sought the help of the Indian navy, which dispatched the INS Kirch and a Dornier aircraft.

According to the MNDF, a chain on the ramp in the front of the vessel broke and fell into the sea. The crew was unable to lift the ramp up and navigation also became difficult due to bad weather.

Along with torrential rain and strong winds, the seas have been rough in recent days with the onset of the south-west monsoon.

On Wednesday night, a tornado struck the southernmost atoll and damaged 12 homes in the Hithadhoo ward of Addu City whilst heavy rain caused flooding on some islands, with Nadella in Gaaf Alif atoll the worst hit.

The met office predicts heavy rain and thunderstorms across the Maldives for the next three days. Seas are also expected to be rough in the central and northern atolls.

Photo from Public Service Media.