The Indian Navy today said it had recovered the bodies of three of the 15 sailors and three officers who were inside the INS Sindhurakshak at the time of the explosion, but cautioned low visibility in the muddied waters inside was makinmg it difficult to locate the others.
According to a navy statement, the bodies found this morning on the diesel-powered submarine were "severely disfigured and not identifiable due to severe burns.'' The Navy added it would conduct DNA tests for identification.
The Navy further cautioned that "conditions within the submarine leads to firm conclusion that finding any surviving personnel within the submarine is unlikely...however, the navy will continue to search every inch of the submerged submarine till all bodies are either located or it can be stated with finality that no bodies remain to be found."
Though the divers from the navy had searched for around 36 hours using high-power under water lamps, the heat and pressure generated by the explosions on Wednesday night had created a mass of twisted metal.
Access to different compartments was blocked as parts of the internal hull had melted. According to the navy, only one diver could work at a time to clear the path to gain access.
The explosions ripped through the forward section, which stored the vessel's torpedoes and missiles.
The 16-year-old submarine, had recently returned after an upgrade to its electronic warfare and integrated weapons control systems following an accident in 2010.
Meanwhile, CNN-IBN cited a submarine commander, GKK Nair, as saying, in view of the intensity of the explosion and the heat and shock waves it must have generated inside the submarine, it would be difficult to find survivors.
According to defence PRO Narendra Vispute, eight divers were going in at a time attempting to locate the Navy personnel inside, adding that, help was being taken from all possible sources.
The three bodies recovered had been sent to INHS Asvini, the naval hospital, for possible DNA identification.
Meanwhile, rescue workers have been pumping out water from the submarine in hopes of making the vessel float again. CNN-IBN cited sources in the Navy as saying, they hoped the pumping out of the water would be completed in the next 24 to 48 hours, while the entire salvage operation could stretch over a month.
CNN-IBN cited sources as saying that the Indian Navy might not be capable of a rescue operation of the magnitude.
The sources further told CNN-IBN that the Navy generally contracted two Singapore firms for such operations, though, the Indian subsidiary of one of the firms did not have the necessary equipment.