Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Discovered Argentine sub imploded below surface: defense ministry

A sticker in commemoration of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine is seen on the windshield of a car of a victim's relative outside a hotel where relatives are staying in Mar del Plata Sub found after disappearing a year ago with 44 aboard
Melinda Barton | 19 November, 2018, 21:03

The wreckage of a submarine that went missing a year ago with 44 crewmen aboard has been found deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

According to a tweet from the Argentine navy, the ARA San Juan had been positively identified under the water by a United States company.

The U.S. company in charge of the search operation, Ocean Infinity, discovered the ARA San Juan submarine Friday in the south Atlantic Ocean at a depth of approximately half a mile, about 700 miles east of the Argentine city of Puerto Madryn.

'Now another chapter opens.

Argentina gave up hope of finding survivors after a search helped by 18 countries, but the navy has continued searching for the vessel.

The ship had set out in September in the latest attempt to find the San Juan, whose disappearance cost the navy's top officer his job.

The San Juan was returning to its base at Mar del Plata on November 15, 2017, when it lost contact and vanished with 44 crew on board.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters past year that water had entered the submarine's snorkel.

Federal court testimony shows that a number of naval officials are under investigation for allegedly allowing the submarine to take an extended mission when they were aware of mechanic problems.

The Seabed Constructor is equipped with cameras that can be submerged to a depth of 6,000 meters. The company had previously been contracted to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean in 2014.

Some spoke of the hope they felt that their loved ones would still be found alive. The vessel was found in an underwater canyon with its tail partially "imploded", Argentina's Defense Minister Carlos Aguad said.

Days earlier, a judge investigating the disappearance said the submarine, which was built in the German seaport of Emden in 1983 before completing an update in Argentina in 2013, had "many flaws". Argentina, which refers to the islands as Las Malvinas, lost the war to Britain.

The saltwater dripped on to a battery tray in the prow, causing the battery to short circuit and to smoulder, he said.

Almost 10 days later, the navy confirmed there had been an explosion on board, which experts said was likely linked to the battery problem.

An air and sea search involved 13 countries followed.

This is not the first case when in the search zone of the missing submarine found objects which has been categorized as "high probability match". "Nor do we have the equipment to haul up a ship of this kind", Aguad told a press conference in Buenos Aires, reports Efe.