Monday, January 30, 2017

In a freak accident the Navy guns down one of its own

In a freak accident, the Navy guns down one of its own
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DELHI:  It was a misfire that killed Anil Kumar Pradhan, a young sailor with the Western Naval Command. Official versions put it as a rarest of rare incident, but sources indicate a big operational faux pas on one of India's finest warships.

On March 12, Pradhan, onboard the INS Delhi in Visakhapatnam, came under fire from an anti-aircraft gun on another warship. The 12.5 mm bullet killed him on the spot.   

More alarmingly, the mishap occurred on one of the Indian Navy's finest warships, INS Mumbai. "It's unbelievable that the incident took place on INS Mumbai. It is the finest warship with a battle hardened crew which simply can not commit any mistake," said a naval officer on the condition of anonymity. 

"But the vital question is about the round which should not have been there in the anti-aircraft gun during the system check. It indicates towards gross negligence on part of the crew of the INS Mumbai. Thankfully, it was a single bullet, otherwise the gun, which is used to shoot down aircraft, would have caused massive damage to the crew and other systems of INS Delhi," said another officer . 

The incident occured soon after the culmination of the joint exercise, Tropex 10, by all the three armed forces, off the Visakhapatnam coast-the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command. "After the exercise was over, some of the ships had anchored at Vizag port and were scheduled to sail for their return passage to the base port, Mumbai," said a naval officer.  

INS Mumbai and INS Delhi were anchored side by side and were scheduled to undergo final systems check before sailing. But apparently during the procedure, the anti-aircraft gun mounted on the deck of INS Mumbai fired accidentally. The bullet directly hit chief radio electrical artificer (equivalent to the rank of chief petty officer) Anil Kumar Pradhan, posted on INS Delhi, and killed him. "There is a procedure to check every single system on the warship before it sails for the high seas. During that exercise the anti-aircraft gun fired, which was loaded with one single round," the officer added. 

Pradhan (31) was unmarried and is survived by his parents. He was a native of Sarangpur district in Orissa. Indian Navy spokesperson, Commander PVS Satish said: "A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been ordered to investigate the incident, but it's an extremely rare incident."

Navy officials also ruled out any doubts regarding the AK-360 anti-aircraft gun. "It's one of the most dependable guns with the Navy and this is the first such unfortunate incident related to it. The actual cause would be known only after the CoI. But it surely indicates towards a very serious blunder on the part of the crew and command of the INS Mumbai," said an officer.

Losing Good Men 
It's not just the Indian Navy which has been robbed of good sailors by freak mishaps. On Sunday night, four Indian Army jawans lost their lives when an 81 mm mortar cell exploded at a firing range in Pokhran. A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been ordered into the incident. The Navy lost two of its pilots earlier this month, when an aerobatic display plane crashed into a building in Hyderabad.  

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