Argentina unsure if signals came from missing submarine

Kristopher Drake
November 22, 2017

A specialized US aircraft had been sent to the area, about 225 miles east of the Valdes Peninsula in Patagonia, after the noise was detected by two Argentine naval vessels searching for the submarine.

The worldwide search effort for the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan will benefit from calm weather this week, and just in time: the sub's supply of breathable air is likely running low, according to the Argentine Navy.

"The submarine surfaced and reported a malfunction, which is why its ground command ordered it to return to its naval base at Mar del Plata", he said.

As waves of up to 20 feet complicated the search, authorities spent Sunday analyzing data from possible satellite calls that were thought to have been made from the vessel.

Gabriel Galeazzi, a naval commander, told reporters that the submarine had come up from the depths and reported the unspecified electrical malfunction before it disappeared almost 300 miles off the coast.

More than a dozen worldwide vessels and aircraft have joined the search for the missing submarine, which has been set back by stormy weather that has caused waves up to 20 feet.

An Argentine national flag with a drawing of a submarine hangs from the fence surrounding the naval base in Mar del Plata Argentina Tuesday Nov. 21 2017

The navy lost contact with the ARA San Juan submarine on November 15, shortly after the vessel's captain reported a failure in the battery system while the sub was submerged off Argentina's South Atlantic coast, the military has said. The craft was navigating normally, underwater, at a speed of five knots toward Mar del Plata when it was last heard from, he said.

On November 18, the Ministry of Defence said that satellite calls registered on that same day could have come from the missing submarine, but the Navy later denied such speculation on Monday.

The ARA San Juan was inaugurated in 1983, making it the newest of the three submarines in the Argentine Navy's fleet.

But if the sub doesn't surface, oxygen might last only seven days, Balbi said. Relatives of the crew members have gathered at the base to receive psychological counseling and wait for news about their loved ones.

Intermittent satellite communications had been detected on Saturday and the government had said they were likely to have come from the submarine. Courtesy Ronald Gutridge/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY."Today is a critical day", said Maria Victoria Morales, the mother of Luis Garcia, an electrical technician aboard the vessel.

"He's in the San Juan submarine". Built in Germany, it underwent maintenance in 2008 in Argentina.


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