The bodies of the two Navy officers killed in the fire aboard the submarine INS Sindhuratna were handed over to their families on Friday.
Lieutenant Commander Kapilesh Singh Muwal was cremated with state honours at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai. The body of Lieutenant Commander Manoranjan Kumar was flown to his home town in Ranchi. His last rites will be performed on Saturday evening.
Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha, Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, and other senior Naval officials were present at a wreath-laying ceremony at INS Asvini in South Mumbai on Friday afternoon.
Mistu Chavda, Muwal’s friend, said: “I spoke to him two days before the incident. He had applied for leave, but it was rejected as the submarine had just come from a refit. He always spoke about the submarines not being seaworthy. We feel that the government is responsible for the loss of young lives. Losing a machine is bearable, but human lives are precious.”
The two officers were the first who swung into action as the fire broke out. Sources said Manoranjan Kumar, who was on watch duty on Wednesday night, first spotted the fire in the battery pit area in compartment number three. He immediately activated the fire-fighting machinery.
Muwal, who was not in the compartment, joined rescue efforts immediately and evacuated the crew. The two officers pulled the circuit brakes, cutting off power supply and preventing the fire from spreading to adjacent compartments.