Search for missing Argentinean submarine expands to more area

Frederick Owens
November 22, 2017

The Navy has deployed unmanned underwater vehicles to join in the search for the Argentine navy submarine A.R.A. San Juan, which is missing in South Atlantic waters.

The captain was told to "change course and return to Mar del Plata", Galeazzi said.

But if the sub doesn't surface, oxygen might last only seven days, Balbi said.

The submarine was carrying 44 crew members, and was travelling to the coastal city of Mar del Plata. "This phase of search and rescue is critical", said Balbi.

Authorities last had contact with the German-built, diesel-electric sub on Wednesday as it was sailing from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to Mar del Plata. "This is why we are deploying all resources with high-tech sensors". It was scheduled to arrive there Sunday. "They could not help determine a point on the map to help the search".

This type of problem is considered routine, and the crew was reported safe, he added.

"A warship has a lot of backup systems, to allow it to move from one to another when there is a breakdown", naval commander Gabriel Galeazzi said. The navy did not give details of the content of that final communication.

SEARCH AND RESCUE A ship leaves a Naval base to join the search for a missing Argentine submarine which has been lost at sea for five days

US satellite communications company Iridium Communications Inc, which was brought in to help analyze the calls, said they did not originate with its device aboard the vessel and may have been from another satellite communications company's equipment.

"It's dependent upon the last time they actually recharged their batteries, how long ago they refreshed the air, what's inside the submarine", Reed said.

However, Argentina's navy will take advantage of better weather conditions Tuesday and continue searching for the submarine.

If the hull is intact, it can withstand ocean depths up to about 600 meters, Layton said.

More than a dozen boats and aircraft from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil joined the search effort.

Hopes to find the vessel were high after officials said that noises, believed to be distress signals, were heard by two search vessels, but was discovered that they did not come from the sub, dashing relatives' optimism for a quick rescue of their loved ones. However, the raft's brand and lettering suggest it did not belong to the submarine, and the flares the submarine was equipped with are red, Balbi said. The communication attempts were originally thought to indicate that the crew was trying to re-establish contact. But experts later determined that neither was from the missing sub.

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