By VIVIANNA ONORATO
The Argentine Navy has lost a submarine and its crew.
According to the Navy’s Capt. Enrique Balbi on Thursday, “Despite the magnitude of the efforts made, it has not been possible to locate the submarine.”
The submarine, named the ARA San Juan, made last contact on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The hopes of finding survivors faded after a suspected explosion was reported near its last-known location.
Balbi said the search for the submarine had been “extended to more than double the number of days that determine the possibilities of rescuing the crew,” but added that teams would continue to search for the vessel on the seabed.
On Tuesday, Balbi told reporters that water had entered the submarine’s snorkel, which can be used to take in air from above the surface when the submarine is submerged.
The water got inside a battery tray in the prow, causing the battery a short circuit, he said.
The Argentine navy’s last contact with the vessel was at approximately 10:30 GMT on Nov. 15. During that point, the sub’s captain had reported that all hands within the sub were well.
Despite this, Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation quickly noticed a strong noise hours after the sub’s last transmission; this was after eight days of the submarine’s disappearance.
The group labeled the noise a “hydro-acoustic anomaly” and stated that it had occurred which operates a network of listening posts to monitor nuclear explosions, said that there had been about 30 nautical miles (60 km) north of the sub’s last-known position at 10:31 (13:31 GMT).
The Argentine Navy said it could have been the sound of the submarine imploding — news that hit relatives of the missing crew members hard.