Wednesday, August 14, 2013

INS Sindhurakshak fire: 18 sailors trapped after explosion - NDTV

Mumbai: 18 sailors are believed trapped on the INS Sindhurakshak, a diesel-powered submarine which exploded and sank at the high-security naval dockyard in Mumbai this morning.  (See pictures)

"I feel sad about those navy personnel who have lost their lives in service of the country," Defence Minister AK Antony said in Delhi.  He did not say how many people were killed.

The submarine was fully loaded when the explosion took place shortly after midnight; missiles and torpedos were detonated in the fire, sources said. (In INS Sindhurakshak fire, missiles and torpedos detonated: sources)

INS-sindhurakshak-FILE-295x200.jpgAt 1 pm, divers from the Navy had not managed to enter the submarine to locate the missing sailors; no contact had been established with them, either.

The multiple blasts were so loud that that they could be heard and seen across parts of South Mumbai.  An amateur video showed the fierce explosion which lit up the sky at the naval dockyard shortly after midnight. (Watch video of explosion)

Nearly a dozen fire engines rushed to the dockyard to douse the fire, which took two hours. 

The INS Sindhurakshak, considered one of the world's most advanced non-nuclear submarines, had been returned by Russia less than a year ago after a major refit. It is a kilo-class submarine which normally operates with a crew of 53 people. (INS Sindhurakshak: how this loss impacts the Indian Navy) | (INS Sindhurakshak was fine after refit: Russian firm)

India now has just nine other submarines in this class.  The navy's submarine strength is already considered insufficient by defence analysts.

naval-dockyar-mumbai-generic-pic-AFP-295x200.jpgIn February 2010, the INS Sindhurakshak had suffered a fire while docked in Visakhapatnam city in southern India, killing a 24-year-old sailor and leaving two others with burns.

Reports said another submarine docked close by, the INS Sindhuratna, managed to pull away, but has been damaged in the explosion.
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