10 sailors missing in sea blast: Lankan navy

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Colombo, Mar 22: Powerful blast jolted the Sri Lankan navy war craft this morning. At least ten Sri Lankan naval officials went missing after the powerful mid-sea blast destroyed and sunk a Fast Attack Craft they were sailing at Nayaru in the seas off Mullaitivu, as per the naval sources. ''One of our Fast Attack Craft (FAC) has got caught in a suspected sea mine explosion around 0230 hrs early this morning in the Nayaru seas. Ten sailors aboard are missing while another six have already been rescued,'' Navy Spokesman, Commander DKP Dassanayake told the sources over the phone.

But the pro-LTTE tamilnet website have different version of the event. The site says that LTTE sources in Wanni reported that their elite Black Sea Tigers, engaged in a confrontation with a fleet of Sri Lanka Navy in the seas off Mullaitivu, attacked and sunk a SLN FAC between Mullaitivu and Nayaru at 0210 hrs today.

''Three Black Sea Tigers were killed in action, according to initial reports,'' the Tamilnet reported, adding that the sea battle was still continuing. However, the Sri Lankan navy spokesman completely rejected the claims by the LTTE.

''We reject these reports completely because there was no confrontation with the LTTE in this incident at all. No Sea Tiger boats were sighted in the vicinity,'' Navy spokesman Commander Dassanayake claimed.

He said that the naval divers are carrying out an extensive search operation in the area to rescue the possible survivors.

UNI

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