Skip to main content

Some Indian sailors dead after submarine explosion in Mumbai

By Harmeet Shah Singh and Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 12:47 AM EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The defense minister confirms some deaths but doesn't say how many
  • About 18 people were reportedly on board when the blast happened
  • Rescue efforts are still under way
  • The Russian-built submarine has mostly sunk following the explosion and blaze

New Delhi (CNN) -- An unspecified number of Indian sailors have died after an explosion and fire on a navy submarine at a dockyard in Mumbai, authorities said Wednesday.

Rescue efforts are under way at the scene following the blast and "major fire" early Wednesday on the INS Sindhurakshak, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Defense Minister A.K. Antony later said that some officers had lost their lives, but he didn't give any details on how many had died.

The Russian-built submarine has mostly sunk from the damage, the defense ministry said, and only a part of it is visible. About 18 people were on board the vessel at the time of the blast, it said.

Sailors feared trapped in submarine fire

Images carried by CNN sister network IBN showed the night sky over the port area lighted up by the explosion and blaze, which began shortly after midnight.

Navy and civilian firefighters were called into action at Mumbai's naval dockyard to tackle the flames and rescue survivors. By Wednesday afternoon, the navy had taken sole responsibility for the rescue effort, Mumbai fire chief Suhas Joshi said.

An inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the explosion, the defense ministry said.

In 2011: Probe, repairs ordered after Russian nuclear submarine fire

Refitted in Russia

The Sindhurakshak was commissioned in 1997, according to the Indian Navy.

It was refitted in a Russian shipyard between August 2010 and January of this year, Russian state new agency Itar Tass reported.

The redesign included the installation of new missile, communication and cooling systems, as well as a new radar, the agency said.

It reported that the upgrade also included other measures to improve the submarine's combat quality and operational safety.

The crisis at the Mumbai dockyard Wednesday comes after India launched a home-built aircraft carrier Monday in a bid to join a select group of nations capable of building such warships.

In 2012: Vacuum cleaner blamed for fire on nuclear submarine

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh reported from New Delhi, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. Joseph Netto in Atlanta contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:26 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
A year ago, 1,000 garment workers died in the collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Here's a look at what has changed since then.
updated 12:53 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Focus is on the fish as U.S. President starts tour with visit to legendary Tokyo restaurant.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Fireworks are fantastic and human endeavor has its place, but sometimes Mother Nature outshines any performance we can produce.
updated 11:06 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In 1987, China sent its very first email. Here's what it said,
updated 10:13 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
The world's new fastest elevator will fling you from earth to the 95th floor before you're done reading this article.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In one U.S. state, a new bill will allow ordinary citizens to carry guns in all sorts of places. Does it make you feel safer?
updated 10:10 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
updated 1:36 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
updated 1:34 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
updated 3:01 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
updated 1:29 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT