Missing submarine: United Kingdom sends Argentina condolences as navy vows to continue search

ARA San Juan submarine

Relatives of the missing crew members claimed to have received phone calls from Navy officials telling them that all of the men aboard the submarine perished after the explosion that occurred 600 to 3,000 feet under water last week.

An abnormal sound detected underwater by an worldwide agency on the morning of November 15, around the time that the ARA San Juan sent its last signal and in the same area, was "consistent with an explosion", navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters.

"We don't know what caused an explosion of these characteristics at this site on this date", Balbi said, describing the "anomaly" as being "singular, short, violent and non-nuclear".

If the vessel remained intact, its crew would have only enough oxygen to survive submerged for a little more than a week.

Claudio Rodriguez, whose brother was on board the sub, told Sputnik he had expressed his frustration to the admiral in charge of the Mar del Plata naval base, the submarine's destination. He also urged family members of the crew "not to lose hope".

The ARA San Juan submarine at a a September 27, 2011, ceremony in Buenos Aires.

"According to this report, there was an explosion".

"They did not tell us that they are dead, but this is a logical assumption", she said Thursday.

Map of the path of the ARA San Juan
Argentine gov't may dismiss navy head for missing sub

The ARA San Juan, which was built in Germany in 1983 and refurbished a few years ago, departed the southern Argentine port of Ushuaia on November 13 and was travelling to its base in Mar del Plata, around 430 kilometres (265 miles) south of Buenos Aires.

According to La Nacion, the location and time of the reported noise fits with the route it might have taken - which was 30 miles away from the last recorded position.

Argentinian Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the finding was important.

Russia had also sent navy specialists and equipment to Argentina, state news agency Tass cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying Thursday.

The navy said on Wednesday it was investigating an unusual noise detected in the South Atlantic hours after it last communicated with the submarine, but refused to confirm whether it indicated an explosion.

Hydroacoustic stations are part of the organization's monitoring system that keeps track of signs of nuclear explosions around the globe.

No sign of the Argentine submarine lost in the South Atlantic since November 15 has been found despite a massive global search effort, while families of the 44 crew members face the increasing likelihood that their loved ones will never return.

"They sent a piece of s_ _t out to sea", Itati Leguizamon, wife of radar operator German Oscar Suarez, told reporters in Mar del Plata, adding that the German-made submarine had suffered an earlier serious incident in 2014. "The navy is to blame for its 15 years of abandonment".

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