Fears grow for missing divers as six colleagues are found dead

Iran's official media said yesterday that six Indian divers trapped underwater with seven others after their support ship sank four days ago in the Persian Gulf had died.

Mohammad Rastad, an official in charge of the rescue operation, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying that the bodies of the Indian divers have been recovered. He said there is still no information about the remaining seven missing divers.

The divers – seven Indians, five Iranians and one Ukrainian – were part of a team installing an underwater oil pipeline and were inside a pressurised diving chamber when their Koosha-1 ship sank in the Persian Gulf on Thursday in stormy seas.

On Saturday it had been hoped that all the divers could be saved. Pirouz Mousavi, head of the Pars Energy Zone in southern Iran, said: "We have deployed divers to save those who are trapped in the chamber.

He said that the diving chamber was about 180ft underwater.

The chamber can hold 72 hours worth of oxygen, said a manager at Adsun Offshore Diving Contractors Pvt Ltd, the Mumbai, India-based firm that employs the divers. But he did not know how much oxygen supply the chamber had contained when the ship sank. AP