More than 300 passengers rescued at sea

More than 300 passengers rescued at sea
September 20 17:04 2015

The coastguard has rescued more than 300 passengers aboard two ferries caught in bad weather on Saturday.

A ferry carrying 181 passengers collided with a reef near Meemu Atoll Dhiggaru Island in central Maldives on Saturday night. The boat was traveling from Malé to Thaa Atoll.

A second boat carrying 130 passengers, en route to northern Haa Alif Atoll from Malé, started to sink near Kaashidhoo Island, north of Malé atoll, on Saturday afternoon.

All passengers are safe and accounted for, the coastguard has said. It has cautioned travelers against rough seas.

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Most of the passengers were traveling ahead of an extended ten-day holiday for Eid Al-Adha.

The department of meteorology has issued a yellow alert, predicting heavy rain showers, thunderstorms and rough seas across the country.

Strong winds ripped off roofs in northern Haa Alif Hoarafushi this morning.

Prolonged bouts of bad weather are unusual in the Maldives during September. Colombo based Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology (FECT) has predicted above average rainfall in the Maldives up to November, due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

On September 15, a private ferry carrying some 81 people sank in Malé atoll. There were no casualties.

The coastguard and police have begun checking boats to ensure they meet safety requirements.

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