INDIA. Mumbai: Juhu-Koliwada in north-west Mumbai witnessed a tragic incident as four boys lost their lives due to drowning, amidst the backdrop of thunderstorms, lightning, and gusty winds that battered various parts of Maharashtra. This unfortunate event occurred on Monday, coinciding with the presence of Cyclone Biparjoy over the Arabian Sea.
The victims, aged between 12 and 15 years, drowned in the seawater approximately half a kilometer from the seashore at Juhu. Fortunately, two boys were rescued by local fishermen prior to the arrival of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, as confirmed by Indian Navy officials.
The deceased individuals have been identified as Jay Roshan Tajbariya (15), Manish Yogesh Oganiya (12), Shubham Yogesh Oganiya (15), and Dharmesh Valji Faujiya (16). These young boys hailed from the Vakola locality in Santacruz, north-west Mumbai. Tragically, they disregarded the authorities’ warning to stay away from the seafront during the cyclonic storm and ventured into the water to swim.
Despite the challenges posed by the high tide, the Indian Navy teams (FRT F/M) persevered in their search operations, utilizing Jetskis and life jackets. Additionally, personnel from the BMC, Mumbai Fire Brigade, Mumbai Police, and 108 Ambulance Service were actively engaged in the rescue operations. The Indian Navy deployed a Seaking helicopter, while divers from the Navy and Coast Guard were also summoned to aid in the efforts.
As a precautionary measure, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stationed two additional teams in Mumbai, in addition to the three teams already present. Furthermore, four teams have been dispatched to Gujarat, as Cyclone Biporjay is anticipated to have a more significant impact there. A standby team in Pune is also on alert.
In another incident at the Ganpatipule tourist resort in Ratnagiri, located in the Konkan region, several stalls along the seashore incurred substantial damage from tidal waves reaching heights of 10–14 feet. Fortunately, all the tourists were safely rescued, escaping the wrath of nature.
Trains on the Western Railway route have been cancelled as a precautionary measure until June 16. The list of cancelled long-distance trains includes Okha-Rajkot (09480), Rajkot-Okha (09479), Veraval-Okha Express (19251), Okha-Veraval (19252), Okha-Delhi Sarak Rohila Special (09523), and Delhi-Okha (09523).
The cyclone, which has intensified into an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” in the East-Central Arabian Sea, is currently moving towards the North-East at a speed of 8 km per hour. It is located approximately 550 km west of Mumbai and 450 km from Porbandar in Gujarat.
The severe storm is projected to reach Kutch in Gujarat and Karachi in Pakistan, making landfall on June 15. Wind speeds are expected to range between 125 and 135 km per hour, prompting a high alert along the Saurashtra and Kutch coastlines.
In response to the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to assess preparedness for the cyclone. He directed concerned officials to ensure the maintenance of essential services on Monday.