Buenos Aires, Argentina—The worst has all but been confirmed.
According to the Argentine Navy, ARA San Juan has most likely gone down with all 44 crew members. Searches will continue until a wreck or debris are located.
The search-and-rescue operation has evolved from a solely national Argentine effort to an international show of solidarity. Over a dozen nations, to include U.S., U.K., Canada, and Russia, who have assisted the Argentines in some way. Assistance has varied per country. The U.S. Navy has sent a high-tech underwater rescue chamber and electronic surveillance aircraft; the U.K. has contributed its airport on the Falklands Islands, a C-130 aircraft, and the SPAG, a special rescue team; Russia has dispatched an A-128 Antonov strategic airlift aircraft; Canada has sent a C-144 transport aircraft with special oxygen devices that can extent life underwater.
“The disappearance and current search of the ARA San Juan submarine has [sic] touched all Argentines,” said Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
The over 4,000 military and civilian rescuers have combed an area of 190,000 square miles, roughly the size of Texas.
“When it comes to situations like this, nationality doesn’t matter: all sailors have an obligation to help each other in a time of such desperate need,” said U.K. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
The Argentine Navy has faced fund shortages for years, a result of an unstable national economy.
ARA San Juan went missing on 16 November 300 miles from the southern coast of Argentina following a power failure.
According to the Argentine Navy an “abnormal, short, violent, non-nuclear event,” had been noticed in the area at that timeframe. They also acknowledged that it was probably an underwater explosion.
ARA San Juan was a TR-1700 class conventional submarine. It had a diesel-electric propulsion system. It could stay submerged for 10 days. It was built in Germany and was commissioned in 1985.
Stay tuned for updates.
Featured image courtesy of the Royal Navy.
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