Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Argentina sub mission no longer a rescue operation

Argentina sub mission no longer a rescue operation

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi walks away from the podium after taking part in a press conference at Navy headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Nov. 29.

"Navy spokesman, Enrique Balbi stated that the search for the submarine had been extended to more than double the number of days that determine the possibilities of rescuing the crew".

The decision to end the rescue mission comes after the Argentine navy said that a sound thought to be an explosion had been detected by U.S. and specialist agencies leading the search.

The crew had about seven to 10 days worth of oxygen to survive on the submarine if the vessel remained intact.

ARA San Juan, a diesel-electric powered submarine with a 44-strong crew aboard, stopped responding to radio communications on November 15.

More than a dozen countries are still searching for the submarine which went missing on the South Atlantic on a patrol.

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"Despite the magnitude of our search it has not been possible to find the submarine", he said.

Some relatives of the crew broke into tears after they received the news. The captain later communicated by satellite phone that the problem had been contained, the navy says.

Some hours later, an explosion was detected near the time and place where the San Juan was last heard from.

Family members of the crew accused the navy of initially withholding information about the submarine and blamed officials for not reporting the news as soon as communication with the vessel was lost.

Meanwhile, Argentine President Mauricio Macri has ordered a probe into the sub's disappearance.

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