Argentina's president vows submarine search will continue

Argentina's president vows submarine search will continue

Argentina's president has said an international search will continue for a submarine carrying 44 crew members that has been lost in the South Atlantic for nine days and the vessel's disappearance will be investigated.

The Argentine navy said an explosion occurred near the time and place where the submarine went missing on November 15 as it was sailing from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to the coastal city of Mar del Plata.

Workers stand around the ARA San Juan submarine during a ceremony in 2011.
Workers stand around the ARA San Juan submarine during a ceremony in 2011.

That has led some family members of the crew to give up hope of a rescue. Navy officials and outside experts also worry that even if the sub is intact but submerged, its crew may be running out of oxygen.

"The disappearance and current search of the ARA San Juan submarine has touched all Argentines. It's a difficult moment for all, but obviously, especially for the families of the 44 crew members," President Mauricio Macri said in his first public comments about the missing submarine at the navy's headquarters in Buenos Aires.

"I'm here to guarantee you that we will carry on with the search, especially now that we have the support of all the international community."

More than a dozen planes and ships have been participating in the multinational search across an area of some 185,000 square miles, which is roughly the size of Spain.

The Argentine navy said on Friday that Russia is sending an Antonov transport aircraft and a ship in the southern Patagonian port of Comodoro Rivadavia is being adapted to carry a US Navy submarine rescue chamber to the area.

The ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine, was commissioned in 1985 and was most recently refitted in 2014.

The sub was originally scheduled to arrive on Monday at a navy base in Mar del Plata, about 250 miles south east of Buenos Aires. Some relatives of the crew who have gathered at the base fear that their loved ones will no longer be rescued.

"Hope is the last thing you lose. I'm waiting for a surprise, but I'm not really counting on it," Luis Tagliapietra, father of 27-year-old crew member Alejandro Damian Tagliapietra, said.

"You go from denial to suffering, from optimism to pessimism," he said, holding back tears. When he found out about the explosion from his son's direct superior, he was told that there was a possibility there were no survivors.

"I asked them if they were all dead, and he said: 'Yes.'"

Some family members have denounced the navy's response to the disappearance and the condition of the 30-year-old vessel.

Although Mr Macri said that it is not the time to point fingers at anyone, he promised a probe of the sub's disappearance.

"This demands a serious, deep investigation," Mr Macri said. "We need to understand how a submarine that had undergone a mid-life refit, and that was in perfect conditions to sail, suffered this explosion."

AP


More in this Section

Chinese legislators endorse Hong Kong national security lawChinese legislators endorse Hong Kong national security law

Coronavirus deaths pass 100,000 in US while cases rise in IndiaCoronavirus deaths pass 100,000 in US while cases rise in India

Contact tracing system launched amid mounting Tory anger over CummingsContact tracing system launched amid mounting Tory anger over Cummings

Politicians ejected in Hong Kong debate on Chinese anthem billPoliticians ejected in Hong Kong debate on Chinese anthem bill


Lifestyle

Cork author Conal Creedon tells Richard Fitzpatrick about some of his influences, from characters in his family’s shop to Ian Dury and Jim JarmuschCulture That Made Me: Conal Creedon on showbands, punk rock and playing the saw

A new thriller on Netflix is already causing a stir, and JK Rowling has set the internet alight with chapters of her fairytale, writes Des O’DriscollOnline Entertainment Tips: Snowpiercer, JK Rowling's new tale, and two films on Repeal

She's been sorting out Cork people for ages likeAsk Audrey: Normal People is basically a Maeve Binchy novel with mobile phones

Every evening, volunteers set out on bikes from Penny Dinners, delivering food and supplies to Cork’s homeless community. Donal O’Keeffe accompanied the Knight Riders on their rounds.Knight Riders bike around Cork city to deliver food to the homeless for Cork Penny Dinners

More From The Irish Examiner