Argentina says calls did not come from missing submarine
Argentina says calls did not come from missing submarine
Hunt on for missing Argentine submarine
21 November, 2017, 01:10
An Argentine national flag hangs at the entrance of the Argentine Naval Base Mar del Plata, where the missing submarine is based.
Argentine authorities received a few blips of hope in their effort to find a three-decade old submarine - and 44 crew members - that suddenly stopped communicating during a routine mission on Wednesday. Such mechanical problems are not uncommon and numerous backup systems are in place should such an incident occur, Galeazzi said.
U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) directed the deployment of this equipment and personnel to Argentina to support the country's request for global assistance aimed at locating the missing submarine and crew.
Seven failed satellite calls were received on Saturday, Argentina's defence ministry said, raising hopes that the crew were trying to re-establish contact, but it later emerged that they had not come from the missing vessel.
Crew members' relatives gathered at the Mar del Plata naval base, where the submarine had once been expected to arrive around noon on Sunday from Ushuaia.
But the ARA San Juan in fact sent its last signal on Wednesday, Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said.
The government on Sunday said it could not confirm that the attempts had come from the ARA San Juan. "That is why we are now giving priority to the search for the sunken submarine".
The vessel disappeared 430km (267 miles) off the Argentine coast.
"The vessel surfaced and it reported a breakdown", Galeazzi said.
The Navy patrol planes join the NASA P-3 Orion "flying lab" that had been in Argentina for Operation IceBridge. Britain and Argentina fought a war in 1982 over the Falklands Islands, which are called the Malvinas in Argentina.
The British polar ice patrol ship HMS Protector, equipped with sonar equipment, is also providing assistance.
"We are processing this information", Balbi said. But the weather continues to pose significant challenges to a rescue attempt as well as the search, and it will be hard to dock the Submarine Rescue Chamber to the San Juan's deck if the sub is on its side or at an angle on the bottom. On Board the submarine at the moment of departure was 44 members of the crew, why the ship did not respond and that could happen - is not known.
They were joined by President Mauricio Macri, who arrived late morning but did not address the media.
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