Argentina: Submarine missing a year found deep in Atlantic

Lester Mason
November 17, 2018

The wreckage of an Argentine navy submarine which exploded and disappeared one year ago with 44 crew on board has been found in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, a year and a day after it went missing, officials announced it had been found 800m (2,620ft) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

The navy said a "positive identification" had been made by a remote-operated submersible from the American ship Ocean Infinity, which was hired for the latest search for the missing vessel.

A massive air and sea search began 48 hours later involving units from 13 countries, but the majority withdrew before the end of 2017, with the missing submarine no closer to being found.

The San Juan had been returning to base at Mar del Plata when the navy lost contact as it passed the San Jorge Gulf, a large bay-shaped inlet about 500 miles (800km) northwest of The Falkland Islands.

Just two days ago, the families of the missing sailors held a commemoration on the anniversary of the disappearance.

"I still had hopes that they could be alive", Luis Niz, the father of one of the missing sailors, told reporters, even though the government of President Mauricio Macri had earlier declared that there were no survivors from the San Juan.

ARA San Juan disappeared 270 miles off the Argentine coast past year after reporting an "electrical breakdown".

The German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine dated from the mid-1980s and had been most recently refurbished in 2014.

Relatives gathered to remember their loved ones earlier this week, while President Mauricio Macri promised to keep up the search for the submarine.

Naval bases and other buildings were raided by police last January as part of the probe, soon after the government had sacked the head of the navy.

During the United States dollars 12 million retrofitting, the vessel was cut in half and had its engines and batteries replaced.

Before it departed for its mission, Luis Tagliapietra, whose son Alejandro was a lieutenant on the San Juan, described it as "the last opportunity to find them". The navy said the blast could have been caused by a "concentration of hydrogen" triggered by the battery problem reported by the captain.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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