AN Indian navy submarine with about 18 sailors on board has caught fire after an explosion and sunk at its home port in Mumbai.
Efforts were being made to ascertain the safety of the personnel and salvage the diesel- and electricity-powered submarine, navy spokesman Narendra Vispute said.
Indian news channel NDTV said a loud explosion was heard and a huge flame leapt up in the sky. Nearly a dozen fire engines rushed to the dockyard to douse the fire, it said.
After the fire, the sub was nearly submerged at its berth in the naval dockyard.
Vispute said the cause of the explosion is being investigated.
The 16-year-old Russian-made submarine, INS Sindhurakshak, had recently returned from Russia after undergoing an overhaul and upgrade, Rahul Bedi, an analyst for the independent Jane’s Information Group, said.
India has 14 diesel-powered submarines, he said.
Last year, India acquired a Russian Nerpa nuclear submarine for its navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a total cost of nearly $1 billion.
On Saturday, India activated the atomic reactor on its first indigenously designed and built nuclear submarine, which the navy could deploy in the next two years.
India has steadily built up its naval capabilities in recent years, spurred by its rivalry with neighbouring China.
… A major fire broke out on board the INS Sindhurakshak submarine at the Mumbai Naval Dockyard late on Tuesday night. Officials say that an explosion caused the fire, but the cause of the explosion is not yet known.
Officials are puzzled after seeing the footage of the explosion. They say the visuals indicate that multiple blasts seem to have taken place outside the submarine.
There is no clarity on whether the fire is under control, but 18 personnel who were on board at the time of the incident are still feared to be trapped inside.
Efforts are on to ascertain their safety and salvage the submarine. At least 16 fire tenders are at the location apart from Navy’s internal fire fighting team.
The Navy divers are also on the spot to ensure the safety of the personnel on board the submarine. It is a battle against time as the oxygen inside the submarine is limited for the people who are trapped inside.
After being upgraded, a ship designed to sink, sank the wrong way after catching fire in an ocean of water. Multiple blasts outside the sub? I hope they can save the 18 sailors.