Mumbai: Seven naval personnel were airlifted to naval hospital INSH Asvini from the kilo class Indian Navy Submarine Sindhuratna following the accident off the coast of Mumbai. Are seven are under observation. Meanwhile, rescue operators are looking for the two missing sailors from the submarine.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Commander Rahul Sinha said, “The Navy helicopter has rescued the crew members, including some officials, who were on board and they are undergoing treatment at the naval hospital.”
Preliminary inquires have revealed that INS Sindhuratna was around 50 nautical miles away from Mumbai harbour when, early morning around 6 am, smoke was spotted from one of the compartments of the submarine. Most of the crews on board had inhaled the smoke and they were complaining of breathlessness, explained a naval official.
Sindhuratna was not loaded with missiles at the time of incident and was on a routine training and inspection. The exact reason for the smoke is not known, and soon after the Navy learnt about the incident, nearby vessels and rescue team was dispatched, including the naval helicopter.
Interestingly, it is not clear if the submarine was on the surface or was underwater.
When asked if they have taken help from Coast Guard in the rescue operation, Commander Sinha replied in negative.
Queried about the reason behind the smoke, he added, “The Navy has initiated a high level probe into the incident and that only once the inquiry is complete the reason for the same would be known.”
This is the tenth accident involving an Indian Navy warship and the third submarine mishap in the last seven months. Around a month ago, INS Sindhughosh had a close shave when it entered the Mumbai harbour during a low-tide phase and was about to run aground.
INS Sindhurakshak sank in the Mumbai harbour last year, killing all 18 personnel on board. Defence Minister AK Antony has sought a detailed report from the Navy on the issue.
Earlier this month, INS Airavat, an amphibious warfare vessel, ran aground after which the commanding officer was stripped of his command duties. After the sinking of the INS Sindhurakshak, one of the mishaps involved INS Betwa which was damaged after probably hitting some underwater object.
India's leading minesweeper, the INS Konkan that was undergoing repairs in Vizag, caught fire and suffered major damage to its interiors. The Pondicherry-class minesweeper was getting a refit at a dry dock when the incident occurred.
The naval headquarters is concerned over the spate of mishaps in the Western Command and had even summoned Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha on the issue.