Mumbai: In the second major incident affecting the Indian Navy in a fortnight, an officer was killed and a worker injured after inhaling carbon dioxide gas which leaked from a container on an advanced warship, INS Kolkata, being outfitted at the Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) here Friday afternoon, an official said.
The leak is believed to have occurred after a cylinder accidently opened and reportedly hit the victim, Commander Kunal Wadhwa, 42, around 12.45 p.m.
Commander Wadhwa, a resident of Colaba in south Mumbai, was pronounced dead at the state-run St. George Hospital.
Another MDL worker, Aslam G. Kazi, 51, a resident of suburban Malad, has been admitted to private hospital in Mazagaon. Police plan to record his statement after he stabilizes, the official said.
The 7,000-tonne vessel, the lead ship of the Kolkata class of guided-missile destroyers and designated Yard 701, was undergoing trials when the tragedy struck.
According to an official who requested anonymity, the valve on top of the CO2 gas cylinder burst, apparently hitting Commander Wadhwa on the chest.
As he collapsed, he may also have inhaled the gas, resulting in his death.
“There was no blast or fire or damage otherwise. With some upgradation and repair, the ship will be fine. There should be no delay in commissioning,” a MDL spokesperson said.
MDL is India’s premier shipyard and manufactures warships, submarines, offshore platforms, tankers, passenger ships and support vessels for the Indian Navy and also private sector.
This is the second incident to have hit the country’s defence establishment within a fortnight.
On Feb 26, a fire on the mess deck of the INS Sindhuratna submarine resulted in the deaths of two officers when it was on a training mission in the Arabian Sea. Seven sailors were injured and were airlifted to the INHS Ashvani hospital in south Mumbai.
The vessel was laid down in September 2003 and launched in March 2006. Two sister ships, INS Kochi and INS Chennai, are also under construction at MDL.
The Kolkata class vessels are the follow on of the Delhi class destroyers of which the Indian Navy operates three – INS Delhi, INS Mumbai and INS Mysore.