Search for Missing Argentine Sub Narrows to 15-Square-Mile Area of South Atlantic
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Argentine navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said Wednesday that the international effort to find the missing ARA San Juan submarine had come up empty after more than two-thirds of the initial search area had been scoured, the Voice of America reported Wednesday.
The search is now focused on a 15-square-mile area about 280 miles off Argentina’s southern coast. That’s near where the sub reported an onboard explosion that likely doomed the vessel, Balbi said.
But hopes of finding the sub’s 44-member crew alive were all but gone because the San Juan had only a seven-day oxygen supply when the Argentine navy lost contact with the vessel on November 15.
By Monday, aircraft and ships from 18 countries looking for the submarine had covered 68 percent of the search area.
At least eight ships are operating in the remaining search area, which is based on calculations of the sub’s last reported direction and speed.
Over the weekend, families of the missing crew waiting at the sub’s Mar del Plata naval base abandoned their vigil and headed home after scheduling a religious ceremony on Saturday.
Water Entering the San Juan’s Snorkel Caused a Battery to Short-Circuit
On Monday, Balbi told a news conference that the San Juan had been ordered back to Mar del Plata after it reported that water entering the sub’s snorkel caused a battery to short-circuit. “They had to isolate the battery and continue to sail underwater toward Mar del Plata, using another battery,” he explained.
Balbi described the search as “a slow sweep” that “depends on the weather.” Weather conditions, which hampered the first few days of the search, were predicted to remain favorable on Thursday.