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Final rites of sailors who died at INS Sindhuratna fire done with state honours

Saturday, 1 March 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Bodies of the two sailors — Lt Commanders Kapish Singh Muwal and Manoranjan Kumar — were handed over to their families on Friday. Muwal and Kumar died in the fire that broke out in Indian Naval Submarine (INS) Sindhuratna on Wednesday.

While Muwal's final rites were conducted in Mumbai, Kumar's family will be taking his body to Ranchi on Saturday.

Muwal was cremated with full state honours at the Chandanwadi crematorium in Marine Lines in South Mumbai. His family members and friends were present during the rites.

Earlier in the day, a wreath-laying ceremony was conducted at the Indian Naval Hospital Ship (INHS) Asvini in the honour of the departed officers. The bodies were then handed over to the families.

"Wreaths were laid by Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command as well as other flag officers and all the officers present for the ceremony. Sinha later met the families of the deceased officers and expressed his condolences," said Navy spokesperson Rahul Sinha.

Speaking to dna, Muwal's close friend, Mistu Chavda, said that he used to treat the submarine like his mother. "I spoke to him two days before the incident. Muwal told me that he had applied for leave but it was cancelled because the submarine had just come back after a refit and had to be tested," Chavda said. "Losing a machine is manageable, but losing a human life is unbearable," she lamented.

Both officers were from the electrical branch of Indian Navy and were fully qualified in dealing with the exigency. "Both the officers did a tremendous job by cutting the power cables which supplied electricity to the batteries. Had they not done that, the fire would have spread to the other sections of the submarine resulting in major loss of life and the vessel itself," said a source.

Muwal and Kumar were on board when the mishap occurred in (INS) Sindhuratna. A fire engulfed the third compartment of the vessel possibly due to leakage in the battery. Muwal, Kumar and seven other officers rushed to contain the fire. While the seven officers managed to come out of the compartment, Muwal and Kumar got trapped inside and died due to suffocation.

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