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Race against the clock to find the Argentine submarine

Ⓒ TELAM/AFP – ARGENTINA’S DEFENSE MINISTRY – | Photo of the Argentinean Telam Agency and the Argentine Ministry of Defense, published on November 17, 2017, showing the San Juan submarine still missing on November 18, 2017

The searches redoubled Sunday to find the Argentine submarine San Juan, missing since Wednesday in the South Atlantic, but the submersible and its 44 crew members can not be found.

On Saturday night, satellite calls to naval bases were interpreted by the Ministry of Defense as distress signals issued by the submarine.

But, Sunday, there were no new attempts to communicate, and the storm has not weakened, making the task of rescuers even more difficult.

The submarine was not located by aircraft flying over a 300-km-wide area off Patagonia, or by the buildings that run through the perimeter.

“Unfortunately, we still have no contact or been able to locate the San Juan submarine with radar,” said Argentinian Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi.

– Hope without continuation –

Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Aguad had given hope and thought of a happy ending.

“We have received seven satellite calls signals from the submarine, we are working hard to locate them and we have passed on this hope to the families of the 44 crew members,” he said. .

Are the 44 crew members still alive? What is the origin of the communication failure for almost 5 days? Has the San Juan sunk as a result of an explosion on board? Is he drifting in the South Atlantic after being able to resurface?

Unceasingly, the spokesman of the Argentine Navy says that “all the hypotheses are envisaged”.

“Nothing new,” he said Sunday night, before detailing the national and international means mobilized.

On Sunday, a B8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the US Army and a Nasa aircraft inspected the area. A Brazilian plane, a British ship are also mobilized.

In Mar del Plata, the families of the sailors and their relatives held their breath. Nothing filtered from the naval base.

Ⓒ AFP – Anella RETA – | The Argentine submarine San Juan

At regular intervals, the chief of the base advances towards the journalists on the spot to tell them that the searches remain without result.

The storm and waves of five to seven meters make search operations difficult in the area where the submarine was last located, 430 kilometers off the coast of Patagonia and Península Valdés.

From Monday to mid-day, the weather should be more favorable, according to the navy.

– Anguish –

Rare are the relatives of sailors who speak publicly.

In addition to surface searches and geolocation attempts, the Argentine Navy was preparing a deep rescue device for the crew members.

On Sunday, American rescue equipment arrived in Comodoro Rivadavia (Patagonia) from California. It can rescue up to 16 people at a time up to more than 600 meters deep. But for that, it is necessary to locate the submersible.

The oil company Total, which operates offshore fields further south, has put a ship at the service of research operations.

According to the protocol, by noting contact with its base, the submersible should have reached the surface or activated an emergency radio beacon.

The submarine, patrolling for a mission, left 35 days ago from Mar del Plata, a port and seaside resort 400 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, to reach Ushuaia, where it spent three days before starting the journey. back.

“We are all anxious but we keep hope, I want my husband to come back, let them find them, I still send him whatsapp messages as I usually do,” said Marcela Moyano, wife of the machinist Hernan Rodriguez, one of the 44 sailors.

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