India navy: Officer dies aboard ship in Mumbai accident

Ships and submarines belonging to the Indian Navy are seen docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai February 27, 2014. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The dockyard in Mumbai used by the navy has been building vessels for hundreds of years

An Indian navy officer has been killed in an accident on board a ship being built at a dockyard in Mumbai, naval officials told the BBC.

The destroyer had been undergoing mechanical trials when a "malfunction" on board led to a toxic gas leak.

Last month, two sailors died after an accident on board a submarine, the INS Sindhuratna, at sea.

India's navy chief quit after that, the latest in a series of operational accidents involving naval vessels.

Last year 18 sailors died in one of the navy's worst disasters when a submarine sank after a fire at the same dockyard in Mumbai.

In the latest incident, "INS Kolkata-class destroyer ship Yard-701... suffered malfunction in its carbon dioxide unit while undergoing machinery trials, leading to gas leakage," the navy said in a press release.

Media reports said the officer inhaled a large amount of toxic gas and was taken to hospital, where he died.

A number of people who are injured have been admitted to hospital, the navy said. News agencies said the injured were dockworkers.

Earlier, a navy official told BBC Hindi that there had been a blast on the ship.

Friday's accident is thought to be the 12th involving a navy vessel in the past seven months.

Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi quit after the INS Sindhuratna deaths, accepting "moral responsibility" for that and other operational accidents involving navy ships under his watch.

The navy blamed that accident on "human error" and said that officers had "deviated from standard operating procedure".

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