MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (TIP): Naval divers on Friday found bodies of three naval personnel from ill-fated submarine INS Sindhurakshak which exploded and sank at the Mumbai dockyard early on august 14. “Three bodies have been recovered from the submarine by our divers but their identity has not yet been ascertained,” Navy sources said. There were 18 personnel, including three officers, who had got trapped inside the 2,300 tonne Russian-made submarine and all are feared dead.
The Navy had on Thursday released the names of the three officers and 15 sailors who were in the 16-year-old warship. The three officers are Lieutenant Commanders Nikhilesh Pal, Alok Kumar and R Venkitaraj. The sailors stuck inside the Kilo class vessel are Sanjeev Kumar, KC Upadhya, Timothy Sinha, Kewal Singh, Sunil Kumar Dasari Prasad, Liju Lawrence, Rajesh Tootika, Amit K Singh, Atul Sharma, Vikas E Naruttam Deuri, Malay Haldar, Vishnu V and Seetaram Badapalli.
The diving efforts have been hampered by poor visibility inside the submarine which is filled with water, extremely restricted access and displacement of most equipment from their original location. The Navy is also planning to seek help from a Dutch company to salvage the sunken warship. In one of the worst disasters to have struck the Navy, a series of explosions rocked INS Sindhurakshak at the Mumbai dockyard sinking it partially in the shallow sea.
“We are deeply pained that we lost the submarine, INS Sindurakshak in an accident yesterday. Eighteen brave sailors are feared to have lost their lives,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said on Aug 15. “The accident is all the more painful because the Navy had recently achieved two major successes in the form of its first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant and the aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant,” he had said in his Independence Day speech.