While 24 people were rescued by a naval ship, three personnel are still missing. Inside reports suggest that the auxiliary ship sank to a depth of 370 meters, approximately 35 nautical miles south of Visakhapatnam and 28 nautical miles from the closest point of the coast.
The vessel, TRV 72, was deployed for a routine torpedo recovery mission.
After completing the same, it was coming back to the Visakhapatnam harbour when it complained of flooding in its steering gear compartment around 6.30 p.m. Following this, Naval ships in the vicinity were immediately diverted for assistance. Apart from this, Dornier and Boeing P8i aircraft were deployed.
Among the rescued, one died while in post-recovery care. A Sea King 42 C helicopter, with night-vision capability had been deployed to assist in the search and rescue operation of the three missing personnel.
The vessel was of Astravahini Class, which is 112-tonne, 28.5-metre-long auxiliary ship, with a displacement of 110 tonnes at full load. It was built at Goa Shipyard and was commissioned into the Navy on February 23 1983.
An inquiry board has been instituted to investigate the accident. While the exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained, preliminary reports indicated that the sea chest, which is a recess in the hull for intake of water, had developed a crack causing flooding.