An explosion resulting in a major fire took place on board INS Sindhurakshak, a Kilo class submarine of the Indian Navy, shortly after midnight. The fate of 18 persons on board the submarine is being ascertained, a defence spokesperson said.
    
The Navy has ordered a board of inquiry to probe the explosion and subsequent fire on board the submarine, he said. Fire tenders from the Naval dockyard as well as the
Mumbai Fire Brigade were immediately pressed into action, he said.
    
However, due to the explosion, the submarine has submerged at the dock with only a portion visible above the surface, a defence statement said. It said efforts are on to ascertain the safety of the personnel and salvage the submarine. Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi is on his way to Mumbai.
    
The submarine had returned after a major upgrade programme in Russia 3-4 months ago and is armed with a potent weapons package including the anti-ship Club missiles.
    
INS Sindhurakshak was not on active duty at the time of the accident, Navy sources said. The incident has come at a time when the Navy is facing a situation of depleting submarine fleet.

AK Antony to visit Mumbai in wake of the submarine mishap

Union Defence Minister AK Antony will visit Mumbai on Wednesday in the  wake of the submarine INS Sindhurakshak mishap. Before leaving for Mumbai, the minister briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the submarine which sank after it was ravaged by a massive fire preceded by a huge explosion.   

“I have briefed the Prime Minster about this tragedy and now I am going to Mumbai,” said Antony. The Defence Minister described the incident as the greatest tragedy of recent times.

(JPN/Agencies)

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