New Delhi: Family members of four country boat fishermen who went missing from the coastal hamlet of Pamban, Tamil Nadu on June 4 demanded to intensify search operations on Sunday. The missing fishermen were supposed to return on shore the next morning, i.e June 5.

The four fishermen – Stephen, 42, and Minon, 41, from Pamban, and Anthony and Chindas, 43, from Thangachimadam – had set out for fishing on a fibreglass boat from Pamban on Thursday, June 4 did not return till this Saturday evening.

Fellow fisherfolk along with Mandapam station of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Indian Naval Air Station (INS) Parundu had launched search operations to trace their whereabouts. A Chetak helicopter also made a sortie on Saturday afternoon.

Rameswaram Assistant Director of Fisheries, T.Yuvaraj, said Indian Coast Guard ships from Mandapam and Karaikkal stations and a helicopter from INS Parundu at Uchipuli were engaged in the search operations.

However, as the search did not pay off more than 36 hours after it was initiated, the anxious family members asked the officials to increase the scale of operations.

Strong winds and rough conditions in the sea raised fears about the safety of the fishermen. According to reports, officials had already alerted the fisherfolk of venturing into the sea owing to strong currents. Despite, the mechanised boat fishermen took to the sea paying no heed to the warning.

With inputs from agencies