Indian Submarine Explodes In Mumbai
2013-08-14 0:00

By Michael Edwards | ABC News

Up to 18 sailors killed in submarine explosion in Mumbai

Indian navy divers have entered a stricken submarine which exploded Wednesday in Mumbai but have detected no signs of life from the 18 crewmen on board, the navy said.

Meanwhile, an inquiry has been ordered into what’s thought to be India’s worst naval disaster in more than 40 years in which the fully armed INS Sindhurakshak, which was recently refitted in Russia, caught on fire after an explosion and subsequently sank in a military shipyard.

As many as 18 soldiers were believed to have been onboard and defence minister AK Antony confirmed that some had died.

Chief of naval staff D.K. Joshi said no sign of life had been detected by divers who managed to enter the sub through the main hatch in a bid to refloat the vessel.

"While we hope for the best, we have to prepare for the worst," he told reporters in Mumbai, adding that there was a possibility some crew might have found air pockets but "the indicators are negative".


It is not certain what caused the explosion, but reports suggest it may have occurred while maintenance was being carried out on the submarine’s battery system.

The blast damaged other ships nearby at the naval base.

Rahul Bedi, a defence expert with IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, cited reports a saying the fire set off weapons on the submarine.

"Some agencies are reporting that the fire in fact set off two torpedos, one of which skimmed passed a submarine that was berthed nearby and another sailed harmlessly into either the water or some other buildings," he said.

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