Several sailors have been killed among the 18, including three officers, feared trapped inside a Russian-built Indian Navy submarine that caught fire and sank after a blast on board in the port of Mumbai, the Navy said Wednesday.
The incident has claimed the lives of several sailors, Indian Defense Minister AK Anthony said, but could not specify how many, AFP reported.
Several sailors on board the INS Sindhurakshak managed to jump from the boat and escape the ensuing fire, after the explosion rocked the Kilo-class (Project 877 EKM) diesel-electric submarine just after midnight local time, according to Indian media reports.
'There are some people who are trapped on board, we are in the process of trying to rescue them, we suspect it to be in the range of 18,' a navy spokesman said, the Times of India reported.
The vessel was "fully-armed" at the time of the incident and the fire caused explosions among the torpedoes and missiles on board, local television station NDTV reported, quoting Indian Defense Ministry sources as saying.
"The blast took place in the weapons compartment," a defense source told the channel.
'The submarine has submerged at her berth with only a portion [of the hull] visible above the surface,' the navy said in a statement.
A rescue operation is underway, and the naval authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
The fire is not the first such incident on board - in 2010, a crewman died following a fire in the ship's batteries while it was in another port.
The INS Sindhurakshak (S63) returned to India from Russia in January this year after an extensive refit at the Zvezdochka shipyard that included installation of Club S long-range cruise missiles.
A group of eight employees from Russia's Zvezdochka shipyard, which refitted the boat, is in Mumbai, but the yard is not in contact with them, it said Wednesday morning. None of them were onboard the vessel during the incident, the yard said.
"A group of eight Zvezdochka workers are in India now we cannot reach them right now. There is no information yet about what happened," a Zvezdochka spokesman said.
The Sindhurakshak was laid down in one of Russia's oldest shipyards, the Admiralty Wherf yard in St Petersburg in 1995. It was launched in 1997 and delivered in December that year. The vessel displaces 2,300 tons (surfaced), carries 52 crew, has a top speed of 19 knots and maximum diving depth of 300 meters. The Indian Navy operates ten Kilo-class boats, a type also operated by the navies of China, Russia and several other nations.
India's first exclusive satellite for Navy, GSAT-7, was successfully launched by European space consortium Arianespace's Ariane 5 ro...
Japanese nuclear officials say the radiation level of a tank holding highly contaminated water at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear pla...
Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the US on Saturday saying that Washington’s allegations about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical w...
A post-mortem of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) MiG series of fighter jets has come up with shocking revelations pointing to perennial engine ...
Under a veil of secrecy, Israel appears to have taken another step toward boosting the range and accuracy of its ballistic missiles. A recen...
The United States has indicated for the first time it would be willing to lease or sell a nuclear submarine to Australia in a move that will...