Two Navy personnel were killed in an accident at the Southen Naval Command in Kochi on Thursday. The sailors were killed when a helicopter hangar door collapsed on them at the Kochi naval air station INS Garuda at 9 am. According to PTI, a defence spokesperson confirmed that two navy personnel had died in the naval base accident. A court of inquiry was ordered into the matter. According to reports, the collapse was a result of weakened structural integrity. The sailors were rushed to a nearby hospital where they succumbed to their injuries. INS Garuda is an Indian naval air station located in Kochi. Commissioned on May 11, 1953, it is the oldest operating air station of the Indian Navy. INS Garuda is a major naval air training centre as well as an operational base.
In July it was reported that the Indian Navy was on course to create a new full-time post of Inspector general (safety) that would help ensure safe operations at sea and reduce the risk of accidents. The proposal to appoint a two-star admiral as IG (safety) was in an advanced stage and would be put up for government clearance. "As of now, the chief staff officer (training) oversees safety issues as he holds a dual charge. The new post is being created as safety is an absolute top priority for the navy," said one of the officials as quoted by the Hindustan Times.
The two, sailors attached to the aviation electrical branch, were “tragically killed when one of the hangar doors of the Indian Naval Air Squadron 322 collapsed at INS Garuda,” a defence statement said. Naveen (28) and Ajeet Singh (29) were passing by when the door was “dislodged from its supporting rails above” and fell on them, it said.
Initial reports had said the two were killed when the hangar collapsed on them. “Both the sailors were rushed in a critically injured state to the naval hospital, INHS Sanjivani, where despite best efforts of the doctors to resuscitate them, they succumbed to their injuries at about 9.40 am,” the statement said.
A board of inquiry has been ordered into the cause of the accident, it said. Naveen, from Bhiwani district of Haryana, had joined the Indian Navy in 2008 and is survived by wife and two-year-old daughter.
Ajeet Singh, belonging to Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, had joined the Navy a year later and leaves behind wife and five-year-old son, the statement added.
(With inputs from PTI)