18 survived the Phailin with a lifeboat and a mobile

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 15: It could be considered a miracle when 18 passengers from a sinking ship survived the Phailin typhoon that killed hundreds in Odisha (Orissa). 17 Chinese and 1 Myanmarese sailor narrowly escaped death when they finally reached the shore in Balasore after braving the cyclone for 36 hours.

They had set sail from Haldia port last week, carrying 2,000 MT of iron ore, and were 40 nautical miles from the coast of Bay of Bengal when they had to abandon their ship.

Squeezed into just one lifeboat, their survival chances were meagre as all rescue operations had failed to trace them, but for a mobile phone.

The phone was kept alive. although the batterey was closing to draining out, but was enough for them to make calls to the authorities in China who helped in tracing them to the Bichitrapur island.

DN Das, a police official said, "After leaving ship, no one knew what the time was or where they were being blown away. At one point, they said, they were praying that they didn't hit land because if they had hit any rocky edge at such speed, they would have died for sure."

Surprisingly, none of them showed any sever injuries. Their lifeboat too was strong, without any particular damage.

OneIndia News

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