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Bodies found on blast submarine

Indian navy divers have recovered the badly burned bodies of three sailors who were trapped inside a submarine damaged by twin explosions, a navy spokesman said.

Narendra Vispute added that it was doubtful that any of the other 15 sailors on board survived.

He told reporters that the condition of the bodies suggests that all 18 crew were killed in the blasts in the vessel's home port of Mumbai.

"The bodies are severely disfigured and not identifiable due to severe burns," he said, adding that DNA tests would be used to identify the bodies.

"However, the navy will continue to search every inch of the submarine until no bodies remain to be found."

The 16-year-old diesel-powered, Russian-made submarine, INS Sindhurakshak, was rocked by two explosions in the torpedo compartment that sent huge fireballs into the air. The vessel was partially submerged at Mumbai's naval dock, with a portion visible above the waterline.

Reaching sailors trapped in the crippled, water-filled vessel was made all the more difficult because the heat of the blast melted some hatch doors shut. The navy said there has been no contact from any of the sailors - not even a knock on the hull - since the accident occurred.

The same submarine was hit by an explosion in 2010 that killed one sailor and injured two others. The navy said that accident was caused by a faulty battery valve which leaked hydrogen, causing an explosion in the vessel's battery compartment. There have been no details on the cause of this week's blasts.

The submarine recently returned from Russia after a two-and-a-half-year refit, overhaul and upgrade and had been certified for use by the Indian navy.

Russian ship repair company Zvyozdochka said the blasts were unrelated to its repair work.

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