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Air India brings back 165 tourists stranded in Andaman and Nicobar

Port Blair/Kolkata: National carrier Air India has brought back 165 stranded tourists from Andaman and Nicobar in one flight from Chennai on Saturday night while another flight from Kolkata was scheduled to take 85 passengers early on Sunday.

Air India officials in Port Blair said the flight from Chennai has departed the island at around 9.35 pm evacuating 165 tourists.

The Kolkata flight was scheduled to land at 12.30 am which would take 85 passengers, the officials said.

According to a press release issued by Andaman and Nicobar administration, 437 more tourists were evacuated to Port Blair by 1.30 pm on Saturday.

A fleet of seven ships and six helicopters on Saturday evacuated 2,376 tourists, including foreigners, from two islands of the Andamans where they had been stranded due to cyclonic weather since December 5.

With the improvement of weather yesterday, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Union Territory (UT) administration started a joint evacuation drive and brought back all stranded tourists to Port Blair from Havelock and Neil islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.

“Altogether 2,376 tourists were evacuated from the two islands and brought to Port Blair. All are safe and are taken care of,” an official of the UT Disaster Department had said.

He said three Mi 17V-5 military transport helicopters from the Air Force and three Pawan Hans helicopters of the Union

Territory administration, besides seven ships from the Navy and administration have been regularly plying between the islands for the evacuation process.

Located about 40 km from here, Havelock and Neil are the most popular tourist attractions in the Andamans where tourists were stranded since Monday due to torrential rains, choppy seas and heavy winds as neither aircrafts nor ships could operate due to the inclement weather.

PTI