A ship carrying mercenaries fleeing a failed coup in the Maldives surrendered to the Indian navy on Sunday morning, an Indian spokesman said.

He gave no details of the hostages on board the Progress Light, commandered by gunmen who failed to take over the Indian Ocean archipelago on Thursday."We have nothing to say yet on the hostages," said the spokesman, adding that the ship, which was heading toward Sri Lanka with 27 hostages and an unknown number of gunmen, had been taken over by the frigate Godavari.

It was not clear whether any of an estimated 400 mercenaries who tried to topple President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom were still at large.

The captain of Progress Light said earlier in a ship-to-shore phone conversation that the gunmen had killed two hostages and threatened to kill the 25 others one by one unless the ship was allowed to go to Sri Lanka unhindered.

Capt. Jaya Davan said the two bodies were thrown into the sea "so the Indian navy can see they (the hijackers) mean business."

But a Maldives officer coordinating tracking operations with the Indian navy, said in the Maldivian capital Male: "We believe that it is only a propaganda story to put pressure on others.

"As far as we believe nobody has been hurt."

Maj. Mohammad Zahir of the Maldives National Security Service said he understood that 27 hostages were on board and it was possible that the ship had been wired with explosives.

Maldivian national security services discovered explosives charges left behind by the mercenaries in Male, who fled when Indian paratroops were dropped in the Indian Ocean island group about 18 hours after the mercenaries stormed ashore.

An official Indian source said the gunmen surrendered at 9:30 a.m. (9: p.m. MST on Saturday) in the seas between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.