Navy rescue team joins search for missing Argentine submarine

The U.S. Navy's Undersea Rescue Command has transported two rescue assets to Argentina to join search and rescue efforts for the missing ARA San Juan submarine. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy Handout/EPA

By Sara Shayanian – UPI

A specialized U.S. Navy rescue team has joined the search for the ARA San Juan, an Argentine submarine with 44 crew aboard that stopped communicating with the military in Buenos Aires last week.

Sailors with the San Diego-based Undersea Research Command are aiding in the search with a submarine rescue chamber and four aircraft, officials said.

The U.S. Navy said the Bluefin 12D diver can rescue six people at a time, if the Argentine submarine is found. An unmanned underwater vehicle, it is capable of searching at a maximum depth of 5,000 feet for 30 hours.

The submarine lost radio contact with military officials last Wednesday.

Authorities spent Sunday analyzing data they believe was sent via satellite from the vessel, as up to 20 foot waves complicated the search effort.

“We analyzed these signals, which as we know were intermittent and weak,” Navy Cmdr. Gabriel Galeazzi said. “They could not help determine a point on the map to help the search.”

U.S. satellite communications firm Iridium Communications, brought in to help with the analysis, said the signals did not originate from the submarine.

Galeazzi said the search would continue until the Argentine sub is found.

“Do not have any doubts, this is what we say to family members these days, we continue to redouble our efforts tomorrow, afternoon and night looking for air, sea and the bottom of the sea until the ship appears.”

So far, 80 percent of the area initially marked for search has shown no signs of the submarine. Officials have said the crew should have an ample supply of food and oxygen.

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