"ARA San Juan" Argentine - the long wait for a missing sub

Argentine navy officials say the submarine that went missing last week was checked just days before sailing and was deemed to be in good shape and ready for its voyage.

A woman sits next to a banner in support of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine, outside an Argentine naval base in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 25, 2017.

The navy has refused to say there is no chance of finding survivors. "Even though the search has already been continuing for 11 days, it could not be ruled out that the crew might be in a situation of extreme survival".

Relatives of crew members focused on the possibility that the submarine may have been able to rise high enough in the ocean to refill its oxygen tanks at some point after its disappearance.

"We need to understand how a submarine that had undergone a midlife refit, and that was in flawless conditions to sail, suffered this explosion".

The US capsule can sink to a depth of 200 meters (660 feet) and rescue up to 16 trapped submarine sailors at a time in shifts of 20 minutes, experts said.

Lost The ARA San Juan has been missing for more than a week after reporting a fault before dropping out of communications
Lost The ARA San Juan has been missing for more than a week after reporting a fault before dropping out of communications

President Mauricio Macri on Friday ordered an inquiry to "know the truth" about what happened to the San Juan.

'We are in a state of total uncertainty, ' said Maria Victoria Morales, mother of Luis Garcia, an electrical technician aboard the missing Cold War-era submarine.

The ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine, was commissioned in 1985 and was most recently refitted in 2014.

Some family members accused the navy of putting their loved ones at unnecessary risk by sending them out in a more than 30-year-old vessel that they suspected was not properly maintained, an accusation the navy has denied.

"Until we have the complete information, we do not have to look for the guilty, to look for those responsible".

"We are at a stage of hope and hopelessness at the same time", Balbi told reporters. "The black box is the submarine", and it would have to be recovered before the causes of the explosion could be known.




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