Fatal explosion second for Indian sub in three years


AP

NEW DELHI–An Indian navy submarine crippled Wednesday by a pair of explosions that killed at least some of the 18 sailors aboard had been damaged in another deadly blast in 2010 and had been brought back into service only a few months ago.

Indian officials said there had been no contact with any of the sailors since the explosions, which lit up the sky above the Mumbai navy base where the submarine was docked.

“We hope for the best but we have to prepare for the worst,” Admiral D.K. Joshi, the navy chief, told reporters in Mumbai.

The explosions in the submarine’s torpedo compartment sent a huge fireball into the air and sent nearby sailors jumping into the sea in panic. It is shaping up to be another embarrassment for India’s military, which has been hit with a corruption scandal as it races to modernize its forces.

Defense Minister A.K. Antony said some sailors were killed but gave no other details.

“It’s a loss to all of us. It’s a tragedy,” Antony told reporters in New Delhi before leaving for Mumbai to assess the situation.

Joshi said navy divers had opened one hatch on the submarine but had not yet been able to enter the vessel. Because the submarine was docked, a unit of navy watchmen was on board when the blast occurred and not the normal crew, he said.