Argentina: Search for Sub Is No Longer a Rescue Mission

'New phase' will seek wreck on seabed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2017 3:26 AM CST
Argentina Ends Search for Submarine Survivors
Children's drawings of the missing ARA San Juan submarine hang on a fence enclosing the Mar de Plata Naval Base in Argentina.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

The search for a missing Argentine submarine will continue, officials say, but there is no longer any hope of finding survivors. Argentine Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said Thursday that the search for the ARA San Juan is no longer a rescue mission, the BBC reports. He said in the "new phase" of the search, the navy will be looking for a wreck on the seabed. The submarine, with a crew of 43 men and one woman, was last heard from Nov. 15. Balbi said that the submarine only had a seven-day supply of air, so even if the crew had survived a suspected explosion, the rescue effort has now gone on for more than double the number of days during which it would have been possible to rescue the crew.

"We've had 28 ships, nine aircraft, 4,000 people involved, 18 countries supporting," Balbi told reporters. "Despite the magnitude of these efforts, we've been unable to find the submarine." Balbi disclosed earlier this week that shortly before the disappearance, water had entered the submarine, frying a battery in the prow. At the sub's home base, relatives of the crew members sobbed when they were told the rescue mission had ended, the AP reports. Some mourned their loved ones on social media. "He's a hero who must be recognized along with his 43 other crew members," said Jesica Gopar, sharing a photo of husband Fernando Santilli holding their young son. "I hope you didn't suffer, my love." (More Argentina stories.)

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