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Intense international search of the lost Argentine submarine

Ⓒ AFP – CARLOS REYES – | Capture of a video in which an Argentine ship appears sailing through the Atlantic Ocean in search of the missing submarine ARA San Juan, on November 26, 2017

The tireless search of the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan lost in the South Atlantic continued on Monday with the raking that an international coalition performs in an “extreme and adverse” environment.

“Unfortunately we have not yet had a location or detection of the San Juan submarine,” Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi reported Monday in Buenos Aires.

The search for the submarine and its 44 crew members, including a woman, was concentrated in a radius of 36 km inside the general raking area in the South Atlantic, about 450 km off the Patagonian coast.

“After 12 days of searches the situation, the environment, is still extreme and adverse” but “we can not confirm or be categorical until we have no more evidence,” he added.

“All the media are deployed” to locate him, said Balbi.

He specified that the ship “Skandi Patagonia” mapped the bottom of the sea with the help of five other ships of different nationalities.

The weather conditions were “regular” on Monday, but could be complicated by the passing of the hours, according to the Navy.

– Russia and the US in the search –

Fourteen countries participate in the search and rescue operation. But those who possess the “most appropriate technology and modern means are the United States and Russia, as a legacy of development in the Cold War,” naval engineer and submarine expert Horacio Tettamanti told AFP.

At the point of search, the ocean has different depths, ranging from 300 to 1,000 meters.

The submersible is designed not to be noticed. “The detection of a submarine is a very difficult process and there are many factors that come into play, such as the weather,” said Adam Slavinsky, pilot of a P-8 aircraft of the US Navy, on his return from a mission. sighting

The North American aircraft set its base of operations in Puerto Belgrano, some 800 km south of the capital, where the largest unit of the Argentine Navy is located. From there, search missions are coordinated.

Two US P-8 aircraft, equipped with cameras and scanners, conduct search operations 24 hours a day with three computers.

These aircraft also launch buoys with sensors to try to detect the submersible in depth, an AFP videographer found on board the mission.

On Sunday, a rescue minisubmarine brought to the country by the US Navy sailed from the port of Comodoro Rivadavia, 1,750 km south of Buenos Aires, aboard a Norwegian-flagged civilian ship.

The capsule would arrive this Monday at the search area, ready to submerge up to 610 meters deep and join the ARA San Juan, if found, to carry out the eventual rescue.

Another minisubmarine, of Russian origin and equipped to scan the bottom of the sea, will be moved to the search area in the coming days.

– 14 days maximum –

Tettamanti estimates that after 14 days, there is no more chance of finding survivors.

The last communication of the ARA San Juan, with 66 meters in length and one of the three submersibles of the Argentine Navy, was on Wednesday, November 15. He had overcome, apparently, a breakdown in the batteries.

The reason for the disappearance “may be an explosion, a fire, or a sudden flood,” Tettamanti surmised.

Ⓒ AFP – Anella RETA – | Argentine submarine: “there was an explosion”

An antinuclear center based in Austria and a detection system in the United States reported to Argentina last week that there was an explosion in the area on the day of the disappearance.

The relatives of the crew received the report as the worst news: there was fear among them that they had suffered an accident with deadly consequences.

The Navy, nevertheless, considers that the sailors can still be “in conditions of extreme survival”.

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