CHENNAI: Cyclone Nilam today swept across north Tamil Nadu coast near Mahabalipuram, about 55km from here, leaving two people dead, including a crew member of an oil tanker that ran aground off the city.
The crew member drowned after a life boat carrying him and 21 colleagues capsized in choppy waters off Besant Nagar locality in south Chennai in high velocity winds just hours before the cyclone hit the coast. He was brought dead to a hospital while 15 others were rescued.
They had attempted to escape using the life boat after the ship with 37 crew ran aground having been drifted by high velocity winds. Two others are in a serious condition, Chennai Port Trust officials said.
Navy, Coast Guard and other agencies are searching for the remaining six. The other 15 remained onboard " Pratibha Cauvery", the officials said.
In Puducherry, a 46-year old man slipped into the rough sea and drowned when he, along with his friends, was walking on the pier to see the sea conditions during the cyclonic storm.
It was much relief to the authorities as the cyclone, forecast to be accompanied by wind speeds reaching 110 kmph, made the landfall with a maximum speed of only 65-75 kmph, saving the state of largescale destruction.
About 4,000 people residing close to coast in Mahabalipuram, a famous tourist spot known for its temples and sculptures, were evacuated to safer places, officials said.The story doesn't mention the fate of the oil tanker.