Argentina's Navy Launches Search For Missing Submarine With 44 Crew Aboard

Jerome Frank
November 21, 2017

An Argentine national flag hangs at the entrance of the Argentine Naval Base Mar del Plata, where the missing submarine is based.

In hopes of assisting if the submarine is located, a unit from the US Navy's Undersea Rescue Command (URC) deployed to Argentina on Saturday with a Submarine Rescue Chamber-a diving bell created to dock with the escape hatch of a submarine in distress for crew rescues.

Commander Galeazzi said it was normal for submarines to suffer system malfunctions.

The navy said it had not had contact with the submarine, the San Juan, for 48 hours.

Satellite calls that had raised hopes of finding an Argentine submarine that has been lost at sea for five days did not come from the 44 crew members on board, Argentina's navy said Monday, complicating an global rescue effort that has already been hindered by stormy weather.

The submarine was originally scheduled to arrive Monday at the navy's base in Mar del Plata, which is about 250 miles (400 kilometers) southeast of Buenos Aires.

On Saturday, several satellite signals thought to have come from the sub were detected near the Valdez peninsula.

Galeazzi said the search would continue until the Argentine sub is found. On Board the submarine at the moment of departure was 44 members of the crew, why the ship did not respond and that could happen - is not known.

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According to Gonzalez, more than a dozen ships from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil were involved in the search, but that the rough weather had mainly limited the operation to aerial reconnaissance.

For the comfort of the crew and for the sake of speed, the San Juan would normally travel submerged at "snorkeling" depth, allowing the sub to run its diesel engines to power its electric drive and communicate through an antenna mast. "We still have no established contact", Balbi said, as cited by Clarin.

After that, he said, it would have to surface or get near the surface to replenish air supply.

"We are processing this information", Balbi said.

The San Juan, which has a crew of 44, was last heard heard from on Wednesday before it went missing in the Atlantic Ocean.

At the Vatican, Argentine Pope Francis said that he is sending "fervent prayers" for the crew.

The ARA San Juan went missing Wednesday as it sailed from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to the coastal city of Mar del Plata.

Sixty-five meters long and seven meters wide, it was built by Germany's Thyssen Nordseewerke and launched in 1983.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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