Skip to main content

Navy divers recover 5 bodies from Indian submarine INS Sindhurakshak

By Harmeet Shah Singh and Khushbu Shah, CNN
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Sun August 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Divers are scouring the submarine for the 13 remaining sailors
  • Officials warn there is no hope of finding any survivors
  • The INS Sindhurakshak sank after an explosion and fire this week

New Delhi (CNN) -- Navy divers have recovered five bodies so far from an Indian navy submarine that exploded and sank in Mumbai this week, authorities said Saturday.

The Indian government warned that there was almost no hope of finding any survivors among the 13 other sailors who were in the submarine when it was hit by the unexplained blast at a naval dockyard early Wednesday.

Navy divers searching the trapped submarine for three days have recovered five bodies so far.

18 feared dead in submarine explosion
Sailors feared trapped in submarine fire

Their task has been complicated by poor visibility inside the stricken submarine's passageways, which are full of oily, muddy water and wreckage. Adding to their difficulties, the heat of the explosion warped some of the hatches inside the vessel, blocking the divers' access to certain areas.

The bodies found so far are unidentifiable because they were so severely burned, authorities said. They have been taken to a naval hospital for DNA identification.

Searching 'every inch'

The state of the bodies and conditions inside the INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian-built submarine, mean that "finding any surviving personnel within the submarine is unlikely," the ministry said.

"The feasibility of locating bodies of personnel in the forward part of the submarine is also very remote, as the explosion and very high temperatures, which melted steel within, would have incinerated the bodies, too," it warned.

But divers will scour through submarine until all the bodies are recovered, the ministry said.

Authorities say they have contacted the families of all the 18 missing personnel and are keeping them updated.

Worst peacetime disaster

An investigation into the explosion and fire -- the Indian navy's worst peacetime disaster -- is under way. Navy officials say they so far can't pinpoint the cause.

Salvage work on the diesel-electric submarine won't begin until the search for bodies is over, the defense ministry said.

The Sindhurakshak had recently returned from an extensive refitting in Russia before the disaster.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh reported from New Delhi, and Khushbu Shah from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:32 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
ISIS has slaughtered hundreds. Now nearly 40 nations have agreed to take the fight to the militants. But what can they do?
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Treated with all due respect, volcanoes can offer some stunning vistas. Just don't fall in.
updated 1:22 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
The blogger, the hacker, the PM... and Kim Dotcom? New Zealand's election campaign erupts in scandal.
updated 10:36 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
In the aftermath of that deadly day, the enemy quickly became clear. But now a plurality of extremist threats tests global resolve.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Soviets put stray dogs into orbit. Then, next thing you know...
updated 5:28 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who will rule whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
After months -- if not years -- of speculation, the tech giant's first foray into wearables has arrived. Here are our first impressions.
updated 4:05 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Bali might be a popular tourist destination but there are crowd-free corners worth exploring.
updated 7:20 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Scots are preparing to vote on the future of their country. Will they decide to leave the UK?
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT