Indian submarine sinks with 18 on board

A man watches Indian Navy submarine INS Sindhurakshak on fire in Mumbai August 13, 2013. Reuters
The Indian defense minister says there were fatalities when a diesel-powered navy submarine caught fire and sank early Wednesday, trapping as many as 18 sailors.
A.K. Antony did not give details in Wednesday\’s statement, saying only that he feels sad about those navy personnel who lost their lives in the service of their country.
The blast occurred shortly after midnight and it took fire-fighters several hours to douse the blaze.
Officials say the diesel-powered vessel was badly damaged and remains partly submerged at its berth.
Fire started at midnight and went on till 5:30-6:00am local time.
Indian news channel, NDTV, said nearly a dozen fire engines rushed to the dockyard to douse the fire.
The submarine was nearly submerged at its berth in the naval dockyard.
Indian media reports say the 16-year-old Russian-made submarine, INS Sindhurakshak, had recently returned from Russia after undergoing an overhaul and upgrade.
Last year, India acquired a Russian Nerpa nuclear submarine for its navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a total cost of nearly $1bn.
On Saturday, India activated the atomic reactor on its first indigenously designed and built nuclear submarine, which the navy could deploy in the next two years.
India has steadily built up its naval capabilities in recent years, spurred by its rivalry with neighbouring China.
India and Russia are long-time allies and Russia supplies about 70% of India\’s military hardware.
This explosion comes just days after India\’s navy launched its first home-built aircraft carrier, hailed by officials as a "crowning glory".
Source: Agencies
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