Mumbai, Aug 18: The sixth body was recovered of the 18 sailors trapped in the submarine during the INS Sindhurakshak blast tragedy. And the Indian Navy today said that they have gained access to the forward compartment of Sindhurakshak by breaking open the jammed hatches.
However, there were no reports of any more bodies being located in the vessel till now after the sixth body was recovered. Battling difficult conditions, the rescuers from Indian Navy had till yesterday extricated six bodies of victims from the submarine.
A release issued by the Indian Navy said here today that professional salvers from reputed companies have commenced preliminary survey activities.
Even Russia's top defence industry official has said his country will help India strengthen its defence potential dented by the loss of submarine INS Sindhurakshak.
Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of defence industry, offered help to India in investigating the fatal explosion on the vessel and vowed to expand defence cooperation between the two countries.
The present state of the submarine and various options for salvage are being assessed. The naval command in Visakhapatnam has also established a similar family support cell, as in Mumbai, to interact with the family members of the crew who could not travel to Mumbai, the release said.
Earlier, sources had said the Navy divers were carrying out the task of searching within the submarine by "feeling each inch" due to zero visibility within flooded compartments to locate the missing bodies and mark a probable route to be used for further rescue operations.
18 Navy personnel, including three officers, were on board the Russia-made submarine when a devastating fire ripped through the frontline underwater craft following serial explosions on Tuesday midnight.
The Navy has instituted a Board of Inquiry to probe the cause of the explosions and fire which is expected to submit its report within four weeks. Mumbai Police have also registered a case of accidental death in connection with the worst peacetime tragedy suffered by the Navy.
The Navy medical authorities had also started the process of collecting blood samples of family members of the 18 personnel who died aboard the vessel. The blood samples would be needed for DNA profiling of the incinerated bodies of the victims, to establish the identities.
With inputs from PTI.