Missing Argentine submarine Juan imploded, navy confirms

Elias Hubbard
November 19, 2018

A year and a day after an ageing Argentine submarine disappeared with 44 crew on board, its "imploded" remains have been found deep on the Atlantic floor.

There has been "positive identification of the ARA San Juan", at a depth of 800 meters (2,600 feet), the navy said on Twitter.

Officials lost radio contact with the San Juan on November 15, 2017, and the Argentine navy called off its rescue operation about two weeks after they were unable to locate the ship, saying there was "no chance of survival" for its crew with just seven days of oxygen aboard.

He said the hull was "totally deformed, collapsed and imploded" and debris was scattered over an area of about 70m. Crew members reported it had recovered from a mechanical failure after seawater entered its snorkel - which fed air into the sub from above the ocean's surface - and they were ordered back to base at Mar del Plata.

An investigation found naval officials allowed the submarine to go on the extended mission after being warned the vessel had mechanical problems, The Washington Post reported.

Relatives of the crew of the ARA San Juan embrace in mourning after a ceremony remembering the one year anniversary of the disappearance of the submarine
Argentina locates missing submarine one year later

The San Juan - a German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine - was commissioned in the mid-1980s.

Earlier this year crew members' relatives camped outside of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for several weeks, where they demanded the government continue its search for the missing submarine. During the $12 million retrofitting, the vessel was cut in half and had its engines and batteries replaced. The captain later said that it had been contained.

Almost 10 days later, the navy confirmed there had been an explosion on board, which experts said was likely linked to the battery problem. "We sincerely hope that locating the resting place of the ARA San will be of some comfort to them", the statement said.

The president also expressed gratitude to all the countries involved in the search operations.

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'. Federal police raided naval bases and other buildings last January as part of the probe, soon after the government dismissed the head of the navy. The US seabed intelligence company is known for conducting the search operation for the missing MH370 Malaysian airliner.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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