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Argentina: Missing sub could be out of oxygen soon

22 November 2017

Argentina's navy says the improvement of weather conditions will boost search efforts for the lost submarine last Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean.

The San Juan is a German-built, 65-meter long (213-foot) TR-1700 submarine, powered by one electric and four diesel engines.

At last contact with its naval base, the submarine had given word of a battery glitch, Capt. Gabriel Galeazzi, another spokesman, said.

Hopes for a successful search for the submarine waned when the navy said satellite calls detected over the weekend did not in fact come from the vessel.

As the clock is ticking, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other nations, have all sent either ships or planes to help with the search.

Capt Galeazzi, who heads the naval base in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, said that the fault reported earlier related to a "short circuit" in the sub's batteries.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the low-frequency satellite signals received Saturday lasted a "few seconds", but had not connected with a base, partly due to inclement weather.

The U.S. Navy Southern Command said the SRC uses advanced technology capable of reaching depths of 850 feet and rescuing six people at a time.

A huge search and rescue operation is continuing in the South Atlantic. "This is why we are deploying all resources with high tech sensors".

Crew members' relatives gathered at the Mar del Plata naval base, waiting for news.

The Argentine navy had one more communication with the captain before the sub went missing, said Galeazzi. The navy did not give details of its content. Courtesy Ronald Gutridge/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY."Today is a critical day", said Maria Victoria Morales, the mother of Luis Garcia, an electrical technician aboard the vessel.

Peter Layton, a visiting fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute at Australia's Griffith University, offered a scenario similar to Balbi's: If the vessel had sunk but was still intact, Layton said, the crew would have about a week to 10 days of oxygen.

USA satellite communications company Iridium Communications Inc, which was brought in to help analyze the calls, said they did not originate with its device aboard the vessel and may have been from another satellite communications company's equipment. The U.S., UK, Chile, Brazil and other countries have contributed assets to the search, and a total of almost 50 ships and aircraft are actively looking for the missing vessel.

For instance, noises that had been detected Monday initially were thought to be a possible distress signal from the crew. But the raft is a different model than what would be carried on the San Juan, and a white flare is not typically used by the crew.

Argentina: Missing sub could be out of oxygen soon