World

Argentina's Navy Launches Search For Missing Submarine With 44 Crew Aboard

Argentina's Navy Launches Search For Missing Submarine With 44 Crew Aboard

A vast search by a multinational task force for an Argentinian submarine that went missing in the South Atlantic, with 44 crew members four days ago has so far failed to provide any clues as to its possible location.

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - the Argentine navy said it would intensify its search operations for the missing submarine Sa Juan.

Capt Galeazzi, who heads the naval base in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, said that mechanical problems were not uncommon and rarely posed a risk.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the low-frequency satellite signals received Saturday lasted a "few seconds", but had not connected with a base, partly due to inclement weather.

It said navy ships and aircraft were searching near the last known location of the vessel off the province of Chubut.

Commander Galeazzi said it was normal for submarines to suffer system malfunctions.

"I also pray for the men of the crew of the Argentine military submarine which is missing", the pontiff said.

On Saturday, seven reported communication attempts were initially believed to originate from the San Juan - but on Monday officials said the radio calls had not come from the missing sub.

In the message, the sub's captain reportedly said he was heading towards Mar del Plata with all 44 crew members in flawless health.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi says Monday that a US aircraft was sent to check an area where the noise was heard by two Argentine Navy ships.

More than a dozen boats and aircraft from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil joined the search effort. Previously, the modern diesel-electric sub, built in 1983 and put into service in 1985, went through a mid-life overhaul, completed in 2013.

The navy had one additional communication with crew on the submarine but it remained unclear what the contents of the last conversation were. Protocol calls for submarines to surface if communication is lost. A USA company that specializes in satellite communication is trying to help the Argentines pinpoint the location of the sub. The satellite company is trying to analyze them.

Hope remains that the crew is alive and can be rescued. Officials said if the craft was intact but sunk, crew would have a week to 10 days of oxygen, but much depends on other circumstances, according to CNN. But the weather continues to pose significant challenges to a rescue attempt as well as the search, and it will be hard to dock the Submarine Rescue Chamber to the San Juan's deck if the sub is on its side or at an angle on the bottom.


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