Skip to main content

Navy divers recover 5 bodies from Indian submarine INS Sindhurakshak

By Harmeet Shah Singh and Khushbu Shah, CNN
August 19, 2013 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
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
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 0214 GMT (1014 HKT)
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT