Argentine Military Submarine Missing With 44 Crew Members On Board

Argentine Military Submarine Missing With 44 Crew Members On Board

The United States has sent the Submarine Rescue Chamber and underwater intervention Remotely Operated Vehicle to Argentina to help search for the missing submarine, the US Naval Forces Southern Command said in a statement.

But Argentine authorities cautioned that it has not been confirmed the calls came from the submarine, though that is the working hypothesis.

The satellite communications were believed to have failed because of foul weather, a source in the defense ministry who was not authorized to speak publicly told Reuters. A U.S. company that specializes in satellite communication is trying to help the Argentines pinpoint the location of the vanished sub.

The search and rescue mission has so far been hampered by adverse weather conditions, including high winds and 20-foot waves in the South Atlantic.

Claudio Rodriguez, whose brother Hernan is on board the submarine, said the satellite signals suggested the vessel was still afloat and would be found.

Navy protocol would call for the submarine to come to the surface once communication was lost.

María Morales (L) mother of submarinist Luis Garcia, accompnied by an unidentified man at the entrance of Argentina's Navy base in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, on November 18, 2017. "We are waiting for you at home", read a message written on a picture of the submarine. "We are committed to using all national and international resources necessary to find the ARA San Juan submarine as soon as possible".

The search operation involves teams from the UK, the US, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay since the vessel went missing 268 miles off Argentina's southern Atlantic coast.

The submarine's color and design, which aim to camouflage the vessel in the ocean's surface, also posed a challenge.

Among those on board is Argentina's first female submarine officer, 35-year-old weapons officer Eliana Krawczyk.

The Argentine military submarine ARA San Juan and crew are seen leaving the port of Buenos Aires, June 2, 2014.

The submarine was last seen off the coast of Puerto Madryn in southern Argentina, where the navy was conducting an exercise, according to Argentine media reports.

However Admiral Gabriel Gonzalez, chief of the Mar del Plata Naval Base, said: "We do not have clear evidence that [the calls] have come from that unit", the Associated Press reported. The Florida-based plane and a crew of 21 are to reach Argentina later in the day.

Sixty-five meters long and seven meters wide, it was built by Germany's Thyssen Nordseewerke and launched in 1983.

Argentine-born Pope Francis mentioned the missing vessel in his Sunday noon prayer.

He said: ' Detection has been difficult despite the quantity of boats and aircraft'. The Russians have said the Kursk used an outdated and unstable hydrogen peroxide propellant.

Iridium Communications satellite operator said Monday that it had detected no calls from missing Argentinian submarine San Juan since Wednesday, but pointed out that there could be another company's equipment aboard.

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