62-year-old fisherman survives over 6 hours in the sea by paddling with his hands and legs

A Marine Enforcement officer administers CPR on Stephen alias Appukkuttan after his rescue. Photos: Special arrangement

Kozhikode: For more than six hours, 62-year-old fisherman Stephen alias Appukkuttan fought for his life in the sea, clinging on to nothing but hope.

Even as the night ended and daylight emerged, Appukkuttan kept paddling with his hands and legs, often dipping with the waves that forced salt water into his mouth.

Despite his best efforts to preserve energy, his aching body was giving way and Appukkuttan was on the verge of losing consciousness when he was rescued.

His coworkers on the fishing boat, Annai Velankanni, from which he had fallen into the sea sometime in the dark of the night, found him at the right time.

Marine Enforcement soon arrived at the location; they had also been searching for Appukkuttan. He was rescued 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) from the Koyilandy Harbour.

A peaceful night that turned frantic
At 11 pm on Sunday, Appukkuttan and five other fishermen left Beypore on Annai Velankanni, a traditional fishing boat called 'vanchi'. Sometime during their fishing expedition, the men slept.

By 3 am, they realised that Appukkuttan was missing. Then began a frantic search mission, also involving the fisheries department and the marine enforcement that had been notified by the fishermen.

Appukkuttan was rescued by 9 am. He was unconscious then.

A team of Fisheries Department led by Assistant Director Suneer administered CPR and rushed him to the Taluk Hospital at Koyilandy and later to the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode. According to reports, his condition is improving.

“He was rescued from the death point,” said CPO KK Shaji from Marine Enforcement, Koyilandy. The rescue team comprised Sumesh, Hamilesh, Midhun, and Nidheesh, who are Rescue Guards with the Marine Enforcement, and Mithun and Amar Nath from the rescue squad.

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