Argentina: Missing sub could be out of oxygen soon

22 November, 2017, 01:43 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Worries over oxygen supply on missing Argentina submarine

A U.S. Navy rescue crew from San Diego has joined the worldwide search effort for a Argentine submarine and its 44 crew members missing for several days beneath the stormy southern Atlantic Ocean.

URC sailors will join the Navy's P-8A Poseidon maritime aircraft and a NASA research aircraft, both already aiding in the ongoing search efforts near the submarine's last known location. The official stressed that search efforts thus far have yet to locate the submarine.

The German-built submarine was around halfway through its journey from southern Argentina to its base in the port of Mar del Plata when it disappeared on Wednesday.

"The sups captain reported an electrical problem before it disappeared", Argentinian spokesman Gabriel Galeazzi said.

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In addition to the latest update, the commander of the ARA San Juan reported about the issues the submarine is dealing with in a satellite communication on Wednesday.

Sounds detected in the south Atlantic are not from a missing Argentine submarine, the navy says. Searchers have suffered disappointments in recent days as analysis of satellite signals and sounds detected by underwater probes - initially thought to be messages from the crew - has found they did not come from the vessel. The vessel had been due to arrive at its destination Sunday.

The ARA San Juan was inaugurated in 1983, making it the newest of the three submarines in the navy's fleet. The Argentine navy said an electrical outage on the diesel-electric-propelled vessel might have downed its communications.

Hope had also been raised earlier by reports that a satellite company recorded seven call attempts, but the navy determined they were not made by the submarine.

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The search area, off the Patagonia coast, is notorious for strong storms.

Under normal circumstances, the vessel has sufficient fuel, water, oil and oxygen to operate for weeks without external help, Balbi said, and the vessel could "snorkel" - or raise a tube to the surface - "to charge batteries and draw fresh air for the crew".

In the "worst-case scenario", the missing sub could run out of oxygen in two days, said Argentine navy spokesman Enrique Balbi. The foul weather over the weekend means that it is unlikely that she could have come close enough to the surface to refresh her air.

If it is immersed and can not raise a snorkel, oxygen may last about seven days. The US provided several planes too and unmanned underwater vehicle to help in the search and rescue operation.

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