Even as the Indian Navy continued its extensive search and rescue (SAR) operations of for four of its personnel, including an officer and three sailors, reported missing after the Navy’s torpedo recovery vessel – TRV A-72 – sank off the coast of Visakhapatnam on Thursday, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R.K. Dhowan visited the bereaved family and met the rescued crew of the ill-fated vessel here on Sunday.
Admiral Dhowan reached the city on Sunday afternoon and reviewed the progress of the SAR operations. He visited the family of late James Jacob POME and also that of an officer who is reported missing.
“The Navy will put in all efforts in the rescue operations and will offer all help to the families,” Admiral Dhowan said here.
“Reports on the fitness of the vessel are incorrect,” the Admiral said, scotching reports of poor maintenance of the vessel being the cause for the mishap. He also met the rescued crew of the vessel before leaving for New Delhi late in the evening.
Meanwhile, the SAR operations entered the fourth day on Sunday. Taking into consideration the prevailing drift and currents, the search has been extended to an area 120 NM South West of Visakhapatnam. Several ships of the Eastern Fleet and a few aircraft, including Boeing P8I, Dorniers, Sea King 42C and Chetak helicopters, have been deployed to search for the missing personnel.
An official statement of the Indian Navy noted that no missing personnel had been found till Sunday evening.
There were 29 personnel on board at the time of the incident. Though 24 of them were rescued by the fleet ships that reached the accident site promptly, one sailor, James Jacob POME, lost his life during the rescue operations, while four personnel (one officer and three sailors) are still missing.