No chance of finding missing Argentine sub crew alive - Navy

02 December, 2017, 01:14 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • No chance of finding missing Argentine sub crew alive - Navy

The search operation for the wreck will continue.

A group of experts from the Russian Navy's rescue unit has set off to the area of search for Argentina's missing San Juan submarine aboard the Islas Malvinas vessel of the Argentine Navy, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday. The rescuers have allowed for twice the possible time that the crew could have remained alive.

Enrique Balbi, spokesman for the Argentine Navy, said: "More than double the number of days have passed where it would have been possible to rescue the crew".

Contact with the San Juan diesel-electric submarine, carrying 44 crew members, was lost on November 15.

'It's unusually cruel. Every day, it's a new blow.

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The navy said Thursday that the search was no longer considered a rescue mission, but it would continue looking for the missing sub.

The search involving 13 countries will now focus on scouring the sea bed for the vessel, Balbi said.

It was advised to divert to Mar del Plata to have the problem fixed, and the captain later commuincated via satellite phone that the problem had been contained.

The ARA San Juan reported an incipient fire in its batteries three hours before it disappeared.

The crew only had oxygen reserves to last for about one week.

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Authorities have said the level of maintenance, not the age, was what mattered, and that the vessel was in good condition. President Mauricio Macri has promised a full investigation.

The news service reports that the San Juan had been retrofitted in 2014, which involved cutting the vessel in half and replacing its engines and batteries.

Experts say refits can be hard because they involve integrating systems produced by different manufacturers, and even the tiniest mistake during the cutting phase can put the safety of the ship and crew at risk.

Relatives embraced after the announcement on Thursday at the submarine's home naval base. Some hugged and fell on their knees sobbing near a fence crowded with blue-and-white Argentine flags, rosary beads and messages of support. 'He's a hero who must be recognized along with his 43 other crew members.

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