INS Sindhurakshak tragedy: Barring engine room, divers gain access to all compartments

Aug 19, 2013, 00:17 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Officials say search operations will continue till they receive information about the other members who were on board the INS Sindhurakshak

Battling difficult conditions, naval divers gained access to all the compartments, barring the engine room of the ill-fated INS Sindhurakshak.

Search is on: On Saturday, naval divers fished out the sixth body from near the control room of the submarine. Officials said they would start salvage operations only after the divers had completed their search for all crew members. Pic/Shadab Khan

Naval Submariner Commander Roy Francis from Kochi naval base, said, “Usually, when the submarine is anchored, the engine room is believed to be empty. However, we are leaving no stone unturned and search operations will continue.”

On Saturday, officials fished out one more body from near the control room in the submarine, taking the total confirmed death count to six. Speaking of their continued efforts, Commander Francis added, “We won’t give up till we receive clues of all 18 crew members, who were on board.”

Senior naval officials also informed that salvage operations would commence only once divers were unable to find any more bodies. Salvage experts from various countries have come to Mumbai. The salvage operation would begin once the Western Naval Command, gives the go-ahead.

Procedure to haul the sunken vessel
A naval official elaborates on the procedure to raise the vessel:

>> They would first have to remove the blast weights from within the submarine. Then with the help of underwater welding they may close all possible holes in the hull

>> Once the hull is sealed, they may make use of high-pressure pumps and will force in air giving the vessel buoyancy

>> Using cranes, they would pull the sub out to the surface

>> Since all three levels of the first three compartments are completely filled the method and types of pumps used to force the water out would differ

Forensic findings
The State Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Kalina received five samples of the deceased sailors whose bodies have been recovered and blood samples of 18 relatives till late Saturday night. DNA samples for the sixth body would be submitted on Monday.

M V Malve, director, FSL, said, “We have already started conducting tests on the samples. Our team was working even on Sunday. However, we still require a few more days before we can confirm our findings.” 

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