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gpolit.com December 17, 2017


Search for Missing Argentinian Submarine Officially Ends

01 December 2017, 06:21 | Rufus Hill

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

A bouquet of flowers and banners in support of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine are placed on a fence outside an Argentine naval base in Mar del Plata Argentina

The submarine has been missing for 15 days.Argentine Air Force members during search operations for the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan, at sea off the coast of Argentina.

Navy spokesperson Enrique Balbi said the mission had "extended for more than twice what is estimated for a rescue".

After a reported explosion near the site of where the ARA San Juan went down, crew only had about 10 days of oxygen to survive and that was only if the submarine remained intact.

Balbi said 28 ships, nine planes and 4,000 people from 18 countries were involved in the search covering 557,000 nautical miles; more, including radar monitoring.

The formal end to the rescue effort means that vessels carrying life-saving devices will leave the search area, while additional equipment for search missions at great depths will be deployed.

Family members of the crew accused the navy of initially withholding information about the submarine and blamed officials for not reporting the news as soon as communication with the vessel was lost.

An global armada of rescue ships backed by aircraft - and thousands of personnel - has been hunting for the submarine for days, with no success.

Relatives embraced after the announcement on Thursday at the submarine's home naval base.

But Jorge Villareal, whose son Fernando was the ship s lieutenant, refused to give up. "The defense ministry announces the start of the next phase, aimed at searching for the San Juan submarine".

And the navy has come under fire for its handling of the tragedy, as it failed to mention the problem reported by the vessel for several days after its disappearance.



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