Vizag mishap kills 4 Navy men

Naval headquarters denies damage to nuclear submarine Arihant

Vizag mishap kills 4 Navy men

The fatal accident occurred because of the sudden collapse of a large docking gate which crashed and fell on the four, who were standing atop it, from a height of 50 feet.
While three of them were crushed to death almost immediately, the fourth succumbed to injuries later. Of the four, three were in their thirties. A board of inquiry has been ordered to find out the cause of the accident.

According to the Eastern Naval Command sources, Commander Ashwani Kumar and Ranbir Ranjan, and sailor Rajesh died on the spot, while severely injured sailor Madhu Babu died at the Kalyani naval hospital later in the day.

Sources at the naval headquarters in New Delhi categorically denied the presence of Indian nuclear powered submarine Arihant-I or Arihant-II in the dockyard when the accident took place. “The accident had no impact on any of the activities in other sections of the dock,” a Navy spokesperson said without naming the secret submarine.

Moreover, the spokesperson denied injury to any other personnel even though there were unconfirmed reports suggesting 13 others were reportedly injured in the accident and undergoing treatment at the naval hospital.

Navy officers said the four were involved in testing the sluice gate at the dry dock when the gate collapse. The official version, however, is different from eyewitness accounts according to which the mishap occurred at around 9 am when the naval personnel were attending to repair work at the floodgates leading to the dry dock and some of the weak joints of the gates. Smashing one of the gates to pieces, sea water gushed into the dry dock pit of 60 feet, crushing the Navy staff under its pressure.

India’s first nuclear submarine — INS Arihant — was launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur on July 26, 2009, for trial. The boomer is scheduled to be inducted next year while two others are under development.

The nuclear submarine completes the third leg of the nuclear triad, giving India retaliatory second strike capability on the sea. Arihant has a displacement of 6,000 tonnes and houses a 80 MWe pressurised water reactor as its main power source.

This is the second major naval accident this year. In February, the Navy lost INS Vindyagiri — a Leander Class frigate —when it collided with another ship at the Mumbai port. Though there were no casualties, the warship sank.

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