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Six Indian divers die off Iran coast

Monday, 24 October 2011 - 9:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Sent to saturation chamber to depressurise; they are trapped in it when vessel capsizes & sinks.

In what is being termed as the world’s worst commercial diving accident in decades, six Indian divers (three from Navi Mumbai) died after being trapped in a chamber aboard a boat, which capsized near the coast of Iran on Thursday.

The diving support vessel DSV Koosha 1, carrying 73 people, and involved in underwater oil pipeline maintenance work off the coast of Iran, had more than 30 Indians onboard, including the six divers. The deceased have been identified as Dhirendra Kadian, Parminder Kadian, Aajesh Gaur, all from Navi Mumbai, NK Sharma from Rohtak, Rajesh Dabaas from Rajasthan and Jagtar Singh from Chandigarh.

“The six divers trapped in the pressurised chamber were found dead by the rescue team,” Mohammad Rastad, head of the Port and Maritime Organisation of Bushehr province on Iran’s Gulf Coast said. Preliminary reports show that they died because they ran out of oxygen and due to carbon dioxide poisoning.

Six divers were enclosed in a saturation chamber on the boat to depressurise after a diving expedition when the boat ran into bad weather. After the boat capsized, others onboard managed to jump into the sea, but the divers remained trapped in the chamber. Their dead bodies have been recovered from the boat and brought to Iran.    

Sixty crew members have been rescued, while a hunt is still on for seven missing people. Apart from Indians, there were Iranian and Ukrainian nationals onboard.
“Lost them all… I don’t know how to say that. We are sorry,” an Indian, who was part of the rescue operation, posted on his Facebook account.

The bodies have been taken to a hospital in a port city in Iran. Later, they will be taken to Tehran and then brought to India in a few days after the necessary paperwork and formalities are over.
Sources said, authorities have started a preliminary enquiry into the exact cause of the accident. Even though it was a natural disaster, sources said that the divers could have been rescued in time. “The saturation chamber was equipped to keep the divers alive for 18 to 20 hours. If the rescue operation had started on time, the divers would have been easily saved,” informed a source.

Investigators are trying to find out why the rescue operation got delayed. “The boat capsized around 4pm on Thursday. It sank in just four minutes, and went 70 meters down before it hit the seabed. However, the rescue was launched only on Friday morning. Also, it took more than 12 hours for the rescuers to locate the boat. If they had used sonar technology, they could have located it faster and more easily,” the source said.
With inputs from agencies

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