INS Sindhurakshak tragedy: All crew members feared dead

An Indian Navy submarine, which underwent a major refit in Russia, was rocked by multiple explosions and engulfed in flames at a dockyard in Mumbai.

Zee Media Bureau/Kamna Arora

Mumbai: An Indian Navy submarine, which underwent a major refit in Russia, was rocked by multiple explosions and engulfed in flames on Wednesday at a high-security dockyard in Mumbai.

INS Sindhurakshak is an Indian Navy diesel-electric submarine that has been handed back to India following a major refit at Russia`s Zvezdochka shipyard.

The live coverage of the incident is as follows:

4:40 pm: Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi has confirmed that all 18 personnel trapped aboard the submarine have been killed. He, however, added that none of the bodies have been recovered so far.

Adding that the sabotage cannot be ruled out, Joshi said the probe will reveal everything. He confirmed that all other submarines and ships are safe.

Addressing the media, Joshi confirmed that the explosion occurred in torpedo compartment and the submarine had flooded after a hole was ripped out in the vessel.

There were two explosions onboard INS Sindhurakshak and it took two hours to douse the fire. Divers are still trying to go inside the submarine, the Navy Chief said.

4:19 pm: AK Antony and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan address press conference. "My heartfelt condolences to families of sailors who were inside the submarine," said the Defence Minister, adding that all "humanely possible" help will be extended to families of sailors.

Chavan said that the Maharashtra government "is standing by to extend any help possible to the Navy".

4:00 pm: Naval divers manage to get inside INS Sindhurakshak, a report said.

3:25 pm: Defence Minister AK Antony has reached the Naval dockyard to inspect the rescue and salvage operation.

3:08 pm: Former Navy Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar said that the incident was, "quite a setback for the Navy as Sindhurakshak was one of our frontline submarines which was recently modified and was operational".

3:05 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan reaches at the site to inspect the salvage operation.

3:00 pm: Reports say that Navy divers are trying to enter the fire-ravaged submarine from the tail section.

1:18 pm: According to reports, the fire onboard the INS Sindhurakshak has now been extinguished.

1:12 pm: Navy sources say no damage to INS Sindhuratna after explosion on INS Sindhurakshak.

12:50 pm: Voicing concern over the fire onboard submarine Sindhurakshak, Shiv Sena member Bharatkumar Raut and BJP member Chandan Mitra demanded a statement from Defence Minister AK Antony in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

12:10 pm Vice Admiral (retd) AK Singh said an internal explosion in a submarine could be caused by either material failure or by not following standard operating procedure.

He said he suspected that hydrogen gas generated during charging of the batteries of the submarine could have led to the fire which could have spread to the missile compartment area of the warship, causing the massive explosion.

11:41 pm: Describing the incident as the greatest tragedy of recent times, the Defence Minister confirms "so many people have lost lives".

11:40 pm: I have briefed the PM about this tragedy and now I am going to Mumbai, says Antony on INS Sindhurakshak fire.

11:34 am: Antony briefs Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the submarine mishap.

11:10 am: Defence Minister AK Antony will leave for Mumbai shortly, to visit accident site.
10:50 pm: Second Indian Navy submarine INS Sindhuratna also damaged in explosions, a report said.

10:45 pm: Chief of Navy Staff Admiral DK Joshi reaches accident site, assesses damage to submarines and loss to the Indian Navy.

10:35 am: Defence Minister AK Antony is likely to make a statement in Parliament on the explosion.

10:30 am: Minister of State for Shipping, IT and Communications Milind Deora tweets that he has asked the Mumbai Port Trust to help with rescue operations.

09:41 am: Navy Chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi leaves for Mumbai to assess the damage.

08:35 am: Navy officials say the submarine has submerged at the dock after explosion. Salvage operations on.

08:27 am: A Board of Inquiry is being instituted to investigate into the causes of the accident.

08:25 am: Navy`s statement on INS Sindhurakshak fire - An explosion resulting in a major fire took place on board INS Sindhurakshak, a Kilo class submarine of the Indian Navy, shortly after midnight on 14 August 2013. Fire tenders from the Naval Dockyard as well as the Mumbai Fire Brigade were immediately pressed into action. However, due to as yet unknown damage suffered as a result of the explosion, the submarine has submerged at her berth with only a portion visible above the surface. About 18 persons were on board the submarine at the time of the accident and efforts are on to ascertain the safety of the personnel and salvage of the submarine.

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