x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sixth body recovered from Indian submarine

Divers recover another burnt body from an Indian navy submarine that exploded in Mumbai as they battle the odds to find 12 remaining crewmen.

MUMBAI // Divers have recovered another burnt body from an Indian navy submarine that exploded in Mumbai as they battled against the odds to find 12 remaining crewmen, the navy said yesterday.

The diesel-powered INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank in a military dockyard last Tuesday, dealing a setback to India's naval ambitions just days after it unveiled its first domestically made aircraft carrier.

Eighteen crewmen were on board when the submarine went down.

"They located and brought up [late on Saturday] the body of the sixth crew member just forward of the control room despite poor visibility and mangled metal," the navy said.

Divers also gained access to the forward compartment, which was destroyed in the fire, by breaking open jammed hatches, the navy said.

The navy said it believed that the state of the bodies and conditions within the submarine meant it was unlikely any surviving personnel would be found.

The diesel-powered craft, which had been returned by its Russian maker earlier this year after a major refit, sank after it was engulfed by a fireball that lit up the Mumbai night sky.

The first bodies were retrieved from the submarine on Friday. Samples from all six bodies found so far have been sent for forensic tests and fingerprinting to establish their identities, the navy said.

Samples have also been taken from family members of the crew and sent to the testing laboratory.

The navy said divers would continue to make "repeated entries" into the submarine in the coming days for a comprehensive assessment of the damage.

"The present state of the submarine and various options for salvage are being assessed," it said.

The navy also suggested that some bodies might never be found because of the fierce temperatures generated in the fire, during which some of the weapons on board, including cruise missiles and torpedoes, ignited.