Argentina navy detected sound in South Atlantic, hours after last contact with missing submarine ARA San Juan

Argentina's navy said on Thursday it is investigating a noise detected in the South Atlantic hours after it last communicated with a missing submarine and its 44-member crew.

AFP November 23, 2017 07:43:21 IST
Argentina navy detected sound in South Atlantic, hours after last contact with missing submarine ARA San Juan

Buenos Aires: Argentina's navy said on Thursday it is investigating a noise detected in the South Atlantic hours after it last communicated with a missing submarine and its 44-member crew.

Navy spokesperson Enrique Balbi told reporters the "hydro-acoustic anomaly" was detected in the ocean almost three hours after the last communication with the San Juan on 15 November, 48 kilometres north of its last known position.

Asked if the noise could have been an explosion, the spokesman declined to speculate.

Argentina navy detected sound in South Atlantic hours after last contact with missing submarine ARA San Juan

Members of the Argentine Air Force search for a missing submarine in the South Atlantic near Argentina's coast. AP

"It is a noise, and it has to be corroborated and looked into."

"It's not something we would leave" unaddressed, he added, as hopes for the crew's survival looked increasingly fraught.

"We are in a very dangerous situation, and one that is getting worse," Balbi continued.

The ARA San Juan would have had enough oxygen for its crew to survive underwater in the South Atlantic for seven days since its last contact, according to officials. At 0730 GMT on Wednesday, that time had elapsed.

Despite the mechanical problems it reported during its last contact last Wednesday, the crew could survive indefinitely if the sub retained the ability to rise to the surface to "snort" or replenish its air.

The 34-year-old German-built diesel-electric submarine that was refitted between 2007 and 2014 had flagged a breakdown and said it was diverting to the navy base at Mar del Plata, where most of the crew members live.

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