Argentina's missing submarine: ARA San Juan commander's final message before disappearance revealed

30 November, 2017, 12:25 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
  • Argentina faces 'hope and hopelessness' in submarine search

Experts say the 44 crew members only had enough oxygen to last up to 10 days if the sub remained intact but submerged.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters that water had entered the sub's snorkel, which can be used to take in air from above the surface when the submarine is submerged.

The commander of the ARA San Juan - which vanished November 15 in the Atlantic Ocean with 14 crew members aboard - sent a message detailing the chain of events that may have led to an explosion.

The ARA San Juan revealed a fire on board the vessel as well as a leak that caused the submarine's battery to short circuit, according to the message, obtained by Argentine television channel A24. It was sent at 8:52 a.m. November 15, while officials have said the sub's last message was received at 7:30 a.m. "They had to electrically isolate the battery and continue sailing underwater to Mar del Plata using another battery circuit", he said. The banner reads "Camarades, be strong".

The navy said last week that, before the submarine went missing, the captain reported an electrical problem in a battery compartment and the vessel was ordered to return to its base in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, about 250 miles southeast of Buenos Aires.

"The problem with being the loved one of someone who is missing is that the mourning process can not start, because they are still out there somewhere", local psychologist Guillermo Bruchstein said in a Saturday television interview. He said the 34-year-old submarine had recently undergone a refit and was in ideal condition.

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Eight days after the sub vanished, the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation said that it had detected a noise a few hours after the sub's last contact.

Crews from a number of nations are searching by air and sea for the San Juan in an area of roughly 40,000 square kilometers, Balbi said Tuesday.

Family members of the crew, however, have told local media outlets the submarine was in poor shape. "It is not that I want this". The other families are attacking me for what I am saying.

"According to them, they only found out about the explosion now, but who is so stupid to believe that?" "They lied to us".

The crew on a submarine off the coast of Argentina sent a disturbing message just a short time before they weren't heard from again.

The San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine, was commissioned in 1985 and was most recently refitted in 2014.

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