Relatives of missing Argentine submarine crew informed ‘servicemen died in an explosion’
The families of 44 crew members on board a missing Argentine submarine have yesterday been told their relatives are dead, according to reports. The submarine had been missing for about two weeks and all search efforts have proved abortive.
Loved ones said Navy officials had called to notify them the serviceman had died in an explosion.
Argentina’s navy confirmed a sound detected during the search for a missing submarine was consistent with that of an explosion but they did not go as far as saying the crew had died. Ships and planes returned to the area in the southeast of Buenos Aires yesterday to check on the noise that experts said could lead to a breakthrough in the search.
Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said there was no evidence the possible explosion was linked to an attack and they would continue the search until they knew for sure what had happened. He also said relatives of the crew had been told about the noise. Helena Alfaro’s brother Cristian Ibañez was on board and she has so far been frustrated with the efforts to find the submarine. ‘I feel like I’m waiting for a corpse,’ she said.
US Navy Lt. Lily Hinz said the unusual sound detected underwater could not be attributed to a naturally occurring noise in the ocean. Experts also warned the crew’s oxygen supply would only last seven to 10 days – the submarine went missing on November 15. US and specialist agencies confirmed the ‘hydro-acoustic anomaly’ was produced a few hours after contact was lost with the submarine that was sailing from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to the city of Mar del Plata.
‘It was not a whale, and it is not a regularly occurring sound,’ Hinz said. More than a dozen airplanes and ships, including some from the UK and US, are participating in the search. Britain’s Ministry of Defense sent a special airplane with emergency life support pods to join the hunt that includes planes and ships from a dozen nations.