The navy just put out these pictures of A-72, the Astravahini-class torpedo recovery vessel that sank off the east coast of India last evening, perhaps the first images of the ship performing its primary task. The sole casualty in the incident so far has been identified as POME James Jacob, whose body was recovered yesterday during SAR ops. Four more -- one officer and three sailors -- are still missing. 24, including commanding officer Lt Cdr Rohan Kulkarni were rescued by the navy last night. Nine ships, a P-8I, a Seaking and other helos continue their search in desperate hope. Here's the navy's statement update out a moment ago:
A full scale Search and Rescue (SAR) operation has been launched by the Indian Navy for the four personnel reported missing in a mishap involving a Torpedo Recovery Vessel (TRV A-72) of Indian Navy, which sank off the coast of Visakhapatnam at around 2000h last evening. Nine ships of the Eastern Fleet and a few aircraft including Boeing P8I, Dorniers, Sea King 42C and Chetak helicopters have been deployed through the night to search for the missing personnel. At the time of the incident there were 29 personnel on board. One sailor has lost his life during the rescue operation and four personnel (one officer and three sailors) are still reported missing. Twenty four personnel have been rescued safely by the Search and Rescue (SAR) ships dispatched to the area. As per the initial reports, the probable reason for sinking of the vessel seems to be ingress of sea-water (flooding) in the Engine Room and Aft Steering Compartment of the vessel. A Board of Inquiry headed by a Captain has been constituted to investigate into the circumstances leading to the mishap. TRV is an auxiliary vessel which is used to recover practice torpedoes fired by fleet ships and submarines. The ship is 23 meters long and 6.5 meters at the beam. This ship was built by Goa Shipyard Limited in 1983 and has served the Indian Navy for the last thirty one years.