18 Feared Dead After Indian Submarine Explodes at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai (Video)
Eighteen sailors were feared dead after an Indian navy submarine exploded and caught fire in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The diesel-powered submarine was built in Russia and was one of India’s most advanced submarines.
It is unclear exactly what caused the explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak but dramatic images on Indian television appear to show a large fireball illuminating the sky.
Navy divers attempted to rescue the trapped sailors on board the vessel after the massive explosion early Wednesday at a naval dockyard in Mumbai.
Officials said the divers could not approach the half submerged vessel for several hours because it was too hot.
The explosion leaves India with only six to seven submarines.
Hindustan Times reported:
The Navy will be left with only six to seven submarines, including India’s first and only nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant, as it begins phasing out the Russian Kilo class and German HDW Type 209 submarines next year.
The report warned that India had “never before been poised in such a vulnerable situation”.
In contrast, China operates about 45 submarines, including two ballistic missile ones. It is planning to construct 15 additional Yuan-class attack submarines, based on German diesel engine purchases.
The Yuan-class boats could be equipped with air-independent propulsion systems to recharge their batteries without having to surface for more than three weeks, a capability currently unavailable with the Indian Navy.