"The primary investigation confirms that the boat was in its right course and did not pose any danger. The shooting was clearly a mistake," said Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim.
Earlier, Lieutenant Gred Raelson of US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet had said that security personnel of USNS Rappahannock warned those on the boat before opening fire from a .50-calibre machine gun.
Another US claim that the incident occurred 48 km south-west of Dubai has also been rejected by UAE officials. They averred that the motorboat carrying the Indian fishermen was actually just 16 km off the port of Jebel Ali at the time it was fired upon, killing A Sekar of Periyapattinam in Tamil Nadu's Ramanathapuram district.
US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell yesterday expressed regret for the loss of his life. She assured Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai that the Americans will investigate the matter thoroughly.
However, politicians in Tamil Nadu stressed that mere US apology is not enough. Perpetrators of the crime must be brought to book, MDMK chief Vaiko and others demanded.
Meanwhile, N Panduvanathan, K Muthukannan and R Muthumuniaraj who sustained bullet injuries in the firing are recuperating at Dubai's Rashid hospital. They have been shifted from the ICU to the general ward as their condition has improved.