An explosion on-board an ONGC drill ship, Sagar Bhushan, that occurred during repair works at Cochin Shipyard (CSL) in India has claimed the lives of five people and left seven others injured.

The incident took place at around 9.15am on Tuesday, immediately following reports of a gas leakage near the ship’s AC compartment area.

The workers were carrying out cutting and welding work around the vessel’s potable water tank when the blast happened, reported indianexpress.com.

"The incident took place at around 9.15am on Tuesday, immediately following reports of a gas leakage near the ship’s AC compartment area."

Fire tenders and ambulances were immediately sent to the spot to contain the fire from the explosion and treat the injured personnel.

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Sagar Bhushan originally arrived at the yard in December to undergo a series of drydock repairs, which are expected to be completed by 7 April.

CSL said in a statement: “Firemen on-board the ship immediately started fir fighting and the fire tender joined with them for the firefighting from the Aft area.

“Two firemen with BA sets immediately rushed into the smoke-filled area and started firefighting and rescue operations.

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“Others continued firefighting from the forward hatch and reached to the incident spot.”

Firefighters have evacuated the vessel and rushed 12 people to nearby hospitals. Five of the evacuated personnel reportedly suffered injuries, while the other crew member incurred 45% burns.

An inquiry commission has already been established to find out the ultimate cause of the accident.