Chief Mechanical Engineer Ashu Singh, who died in the fire that broke out onboard INS Viraat Sunday, was supervising the fire-fighting operation on the aircraft carrier when he collapsed, a preliminary inquiry has found.
“In their testimony, the ship’s crew said that as soon as the fire broke out in the boiler room, Singh and four others teamed up to extinguish the fire. However, due to excessive inhalation of smoke, Singh collapsed on the floor. He was dragged out by his team members, who also sustained injuries,” a Goa Police officer said.
Navy officials admitted Singh to INHS Jeevanti at Vasco da Gama. “He died while undergoing treatment,” the official added.
The crew’s testimonies will now be cross-examined. “Once the statements are collected from the four injured, we will proceed with the investigation,” he said.
Hours before the fire broke out on Sunday, the Navy had conducted a ‘family day’ on INS Viraat. Relatives of Navy personnel were given a chance to tour the soon-to-be-decommissioned aircraft carrier.
“The civilian visit was concluded hours before the incident took place, so there is no question regarding their safety,” Commander Riji K Krishnan, Public Relations Officer for Naval Headquarters at Vasco-da-Gama, said.
Officials are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire on the aircraft carrier, which was berthed at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT).
Singh’s mortal remains, accompanied by officers and sailors, were sent to his hometown in Jaipur on a Dornier aircraft.
With ENS Mumbai