Now it is "Critical Phase" for the Lost Argentine Submarine
The search for the Argentine military submarine lost in the South Atlantic continued for a week and reached a "critical phase". The reason is that the 44-member crew on board may already experience oxygen deficiency, said Enrique Balbi, a spokeswoman for the US Navy, quoted by the agencies.
Dozens of planes and ships from 12 countries search for "San Juan", while sailors' relatives are waiting for news and the attention of the whole country is absorbed by the worry about the fate of the submarine and its crew. If the submarine built more than 30 years ago in Germany sunken or for some reason unable to surface, after giving the last signal on November 15, it would already have to run out of the last 7-day oxygen supply. So far, nothing has been found to indicate where and what happened to San Juan, "the spokesman said.
The vessel is probably lying on the ocean floor due to failure of the upward mechanism, or it is not activated by a crew member, said naval expert Fernando Morales. "If the captain holds the vessel on the bottom because he thinks it's more reasonable, that's one thing, but in the given situation we have to think that if he's at the bottom, it's because he could not get out" said Morales. Speaking to reporters in Buenos Aires last night, spokesman Balbi revealed that unusual noise was recorded last week on the day the submarine disappeared 30 miles from its last registered location. He uses the term "acoustic anomaly", which was found to be the result of a query made by the United States in various agencies "specializing in collecting information on hydroacoustic phenomena around the world."
The spokesman noted that after receiving this information, "a complete analysis that required time" was carried out. The information was filed with Argentina yesterday. Pressed with questions by the reporters, Balby did not want to say whether this noise was an indication of an explosion or other emergency situation on board the submarine. "We are talking about noise and we will not guess," he said. "We are sending ships to the Navy to Argentina with hydro-locomotives," Balbi told reporters. The spokesman denied a message from the Clarine daily Tuesday that a US Navy plane has spotted a "heat spot" in the submarine's search area, which can testify to the presence of a metal object 70 meters deep and 300 kilometers from the shore . He also refuted any other messages to detect possible traces of the submarine.
The last connection with it was established on November 15th from a location 480 km from the coast. Shortly before it disappeared, the crew reported an electrical failure on board. The favorable time already allows the search vessels to cover a larger perimeter after the strong winds and waves blocked the search operation in recent days, he noted. It is expected tomorrow to worsen again. The operation involved about 30 ships and aircraft and 4,000 people from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil. So far, an ocean area of 500,000 square kilometers has been searched, but much remains to be searched.
The crew gathered at Mar del Plata's naval base, where the search operation co-ordinates, and with increasing despair they keep track of its development as the hours go down.
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