independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Two unaccounted for in Indian submarine incident

Smoke triggered an automatic closure of hatches
Smoke triggered an automatic closure of hatches

Two Indian navy officers were unaccounted for on Wednesday after an incident aboard a submarine, months after an accidental weapons blast caused the deaths of all 18 Indian submariners on a Russian-built vessel.

Seven crew members out of more than 60 aboard the diesel-powered vessel were airlifted to a naval hospital after inhaling smoke, but the two officers could not be found, said a navy official who declined to be identified.

The INS Sindhuratna, a Soviet-built Kilo class vessel, was on a training exercise off the Mumbai coast when smoke triggered the automatic closure of hatches, possibly isolating the officers.

The submarine was still seaworthy and making its way back to base, while an investigation was being opened into the cause of the incident, which appeared to be less serious than the dockside submarine blast in Mumbai last August.

In that incident, an accidental weapons detonation and fire killed everyone on board the INS Sindhurakshak. It was the most serious maritime loss for India since a 1971 war with Pakistan.

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