New Delhi: Nearly 18 hours after a naval ship sank off the coastal city of Visakhapatnam, an extensive search operation is underway to locate four people who remain missing after the accident. One sailor died and 23 others on the ship were rescued last night after the ship sank at about 8 pm. Every person on the ship was wearing a life jacket, said officials.
Sources say a crack in the hull of the 31-year-old ship experienced flooding in one of the compartments.
Seven ships and two helicopters are searching an area of 50,000 square kilometres off the eastern coast of Andhra Pradesh.
The vessel was on a routine exercise to recover practice torpedoes fired by fleet ships, when it started sinking, said sources.
Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan, who was abroad on an official trip, is expected to reach India soon.
The navy has experienced a spate of accidents at a time when it is trying to modernise and expand its reach to keep up with the rising maritime ambitions of neighbour China.
The dangers of the ageing fleet of the navy have been highlighted with a series of accidents in the last few months.
A fire aboard a conventional submarine killed two officers off the Mumbai coast in February this year which led to the immediate resignation of the then Indian Navy chief.
In August last year, the INS Sindhurakshak burst into flames in Mumbai harbour, killing 18 sailors and sinking the vessel.