2 officers go missing, 7 fall ill after INS Sindhuratna mishap

Accidents sink Navy chief

New Delhi: Indian Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi resigned on Wednesday, a day when seven sailors were injured after smoke filled up a compartment of a submarine.

The government has accepted his resignation with immediate effect, a Defence Ministry release said.

The resignation came barely hours after seven Indian Navy personnel were taken ill and at least two went missing when smoke spread through a compartment in the INS Sindhuratna submarine that was underwater off Mumbai, about 50 nautical miles (80 km) in the Arabian Sea.

There were 94 sailors on board the submarine when smoke was reported in the sailors’ accommodation.

The seven injured sailors were airlifted by helicopter and shifted in an unconscious state to the naval hospital, INS Asvini, in south Mumbai early Wednesday.

Two more sailors who were on board the submarine, remain “unaccounted for” or are missing and a search for them has been launched.

Officials suspect that the two “unaccounted for” officials may have been trapped in one of the sealed compartments of the vessel.

“Taking moral responsibility for the accidents and incidents which have taken place during the past few months, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi today resigned from the post of CNS,” the release said.

It said that the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan will be discharging the duties of officiating CNS, pending appointment of regular CNS.

The navy has been hit by a spate of accidents over the past seven months, causing concern.

The biggest accident involved fire on the INS Sindhurakshak and the subsequent sinking of the submarine in the Mumbai harbour Aug 14 last year, killing all 18 personnel aboard.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had earlier this month expressed concern over the accidents suffered by the navy over the past few months.

Antony said that even one accident was “serious” for him and there was need to strictly follow standard operating procedures and draw proper lessons. (IANS)

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