World News

Argentina navy loses contact with submarine with 44 crew on board

Argentina navy loses contact with submarine with 44 crew on board

Enrique Balbi, navy spokesman, said the last contact of the submarine with the command was on Wednesday morning.

A tracker aeroplane and navy ships are scouring the area in search of the missing vessel, he said.

A major search and rescue operation is underway for an Argentinian Navy submarine which has not made contact with its base for over 48 hours.

Speaking of a "communication failure", the navy said the submarine is not considered lost, while Balbi denied a report that there may have been a fire onboard.

Adm. Gabriel Gonzalez, chief of the Mar del Plata base that was the submarine's destination, said the vessel had sufficient food and oxygen.

Where it could be: It last phoned home off Chabut on Argentina's south coast.

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He called to "be careful", because "we don't know what happened, I don't want to sensationalize this case".

The submarine was made in Germany in 1985 and arrived in Argentina a year later.

According to national Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, the 66-metre long, diesel-electric vessel was subjected to complex fix and engineering work in 2008, which the country's navy believed would extend its life by 30 years.

The San Juan sailed 10 days ago from Mar del Plata to Ushuaia.

Balbi said the sub was headed from the naval base at Ushuaia in the country's extreme south to Mar del Plata, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of Buenos Aires.


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