Hero of Kerala floods battled for life in deep sea

Kerala fisherman Patrick Fernandez

One of the fishermen in Kerala who rescued nearly 300 persons during the flood that ravaged Kerala last year had a miraculous escape after suffering a stroke deep in the sea last week.

Sixty-three-year-old Patrick Fernandez, hailing from Thumba in the coastal belt of Thiruvananthapuram, had literally escaped from the jaws of death. It was second such instance for Patrick as he was stranded in the sea during the Ockhi cyclone that claimed over 140 lives in Kerala alone in 2017.

Patrick was part of a three-member team of fishermen who carried out the rescue operations in the flood-ravaged Venmony village of Chengannur in south Kerala and rescued 296 persons in a three-day operation.

When Patrik was in deep trouble battling for life, it was only his fishermen friends who came to his rescue.

Patrick, along with his elder brother Basil, aged 66, ventured into the sea from Thumba by around 4 p.m. on last Thursday (May 9). After reaching the deep sea, about 30 kilometres from the coast, Patrick suffered uneasiness and collapsed. His head hit the boat's engine, causing severe pain.

“The sea was turning rough and hence my brother had to manage the boat. So I myself rang up the authorities including the Coast Guard and Marine Enforcement. But they only got big vessels in the locality. If big vessels come close to our boat, our boat will capsize. Hence I got it touch with other fellow fishermen for rescue,” recollects Patrick.

After waiting for nearly four hours in the deep sea, some fishing boats reached the spot and rescued Patrick and he was rushed to the hospital. By that time his left side was partially paralysed. Patrick, who was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, is slowly recovering.

Though the Kerala government announced that financial assistance of Rs. 50,000 would be given to him on account of the mishap suffered in the sea, it is still remaining in papers only, said Patrick.

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