Buenos Aires, Nov 18 (IANS) A missing Argentine naval submarine has been found, a year and a day after it vanished in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members on board, authorities said.
The wreckage of the ARA San Juan, which “suffered an implosion”, was found about 870 metres below the ocean floor, Argentine naval Capt. Gabriel Attis told the media here on Saturday.
Family members at the navy headquarters were shown three images of the remains of the San Juan’s “sail”, or tower, and bow sections.
Hours before the wreckage was positively identified, the Argentine navy tweeted an image of a point of interest on the seabed, suggesting that a 60-meter-long object might be the missing vessel.
An American company contracted by Argentina located the submarine. The vessel’s condition remains unclear.
Defence Minister Oscar Aguad told the media that Argentina does not have the capability of recovering the sunken submarine.
“No, we don’t have the means to go down to that depth of the sea,” he said, adding that authorities “do not have the equipment to bring the submarine out from such a depth”.
The ARA San Juan disappeared on November 15, 2017, off Argentina’s coast, about midway on its journey from Ushuaia in the country’s south to Mar del Plata.
The Argentine navy said in the following days that the vessel’s captain had reported a short circuit in the vessel’s battery system shortly before the last known contact.
The short circuit was caused by seawater entering the vessel’s “snorkel”, a tube that reaches the surface to refresh the vessel’s air and recharge the batteries, the captain said in a call to his commander on land.
The hunt for the vessel — which at its height involved 28 ships and nine airplanes from 11 nations, including the US and UK — centered on an area roughly 900 km off the Argentine coast.
Among the victims was Eliana Maria Krawczyk, Argentina’s first female submarine officer.