Mumbai, Aug 16: With the defence ministry ruling out survivors, bodies of five sailors were recovered Friday by a naval team of divers from INS Sindhurakshak submarine that exploded, caught fire and sank here early Wednesday, an official said.
“Efforts to trace and retrieve the other 13 bodies of sailors are underway on a war footing and we are hopeful of further recoveries by late this evening,” an official said.
These five were among the 18 sailors, including three officers, who were trapped inside the submarine.
The five bodies have been sent to the government-run Sir J.J. Hospital for autopsy, DNA and other tests to ascertain their identity and complete the other formalities.
The recovery of bodies has slowed down as only one diver can work at a time owing to the cramped space inside the submarine and shifting of all equipments from their original locations due to the explosion and fire.
The defence ministry has ruled out the possibility of any survivors from the submarine in a statement after three bodies were recovered.
“The state of …(the three recovered bodies) and conditions within the submarine leads to the firm conclusion that finding any surviving personnel within the submarine is unlikely,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.
“The damage and destruction within the submarine around the control room area indicates that 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,” the statement added.
However, the Indian Navy is hopeful that some of the armaments inside the deep sea fighter vessel, stored on the rear side maybe recovered undamaged as the flames did not completely gut that portion of the submarine.