Two unaccounted for in submarine incident off Mumbai coast

NEW DELHI Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:03pm IST

An elevated view shows the Navy ships docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/Files

An elevated view shows the Navy ships docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai August 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Two navy officers were unaccounted for on Wednesday after an incident aboard a submarine, months after an accidental weapons blast caused the deaths of all 18 submariners on a Russian-built vessel.

Seven crew members out of more than 60 aboard the diesel-powered vessel were airlifted to a naval hospital after inhaling smoke, but the two officers could not be found, said a navy official who declined to be identified.

The INS Sindhuratna, a Soviet-built Kilo class vessel, was on a training exercise off the Mumbai coast when smoke triggered the automatic closure of hatches, possibly isolating the officers.

The submarine was still seaworthy and making its way back to base, while an investigation was being opened into the cause of the incident, which appeared to be less serious than the dockside submarine blast in Mumbai last August.

In that incident, an accidental weapons detonation and fire killed everyone on board the INS Sindhurakshak. It was the most serious maritime loss for India since a 1971 war with Pakistan.

(Reporting by Sruthi Gottipati; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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