Argentine navy calls off search for survivors from missing submarine

ARA San Juan: Argentina calls off rescue mission for missing submarine crew but continues search for vessel

ARA San Juan, a diesel-electric powered submarine with a 44-strong crew aboard, stopped responding to radio communications on November 15.

According to the Argentine Navy, the rescue operation lasted two times as long as the estimated period during which crew members could be found alive.

The rescue operation to find a missing Argentine submarine has now changed to a search mission, navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters Thursday.

Prior to the rescue mission being called off, hopes of survivors had already begun to fade after experts said the crew only had enough oxygen to last up to 10 days if the submarine remained intact under the sea.

Some relatives of the crew broke into tears after they received the news.


Luis Taglapietra, whose son Damián was a 27-year-old trainee, told the TN news channel: "This is perverse and impossible to understand".

The Argentine navy said it didn't know about the explosion-like sound until last week, when the United States and an worldwide organization said they had uncovered the acoustic data. The captain later communicated by satellite phone that the problem had been contained.

The Argentine navy had previously saidthe vessel's captain reported a short circuit in the vessel's battery system shortly before the last known contact. A navy spokesman said this week that the blast could have been triggered by a "concentration of hydrogen" caused by the battery problem reported by the captain.

The search for the San Juan has employed some of the latest technology in one of the largest efforts of its kind.

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