Sounds detected during search for ARA San Juan received from biological source, spokesman says
Argentina’s navy has said sounds detected from the bottom of the ocean are not from the submarine which has been missing in rough oceans for five days with 44 crews on board.
Spokesman Enrique Balbi said ” a biological source” was behind the noises which were picked up by two Argentinian navy ships searching for ARA San Juan and by sonar buoys dropped by a US P8 surveillance plane.
The navy has also disclosed the submarine’s last communication, on Wednesday, was to report a mechanical breakdown related to its batteries. Captain Gabriel Galeazzi, who runs the naval base in Mar del Plata, which was the submarine’s destination, said mechanical problems were not uncommon and rarely posed a risk.
The announcement regarding the noises dashed hopes raised by a CNN report on Monday that stated the audios could be crew members banging tools against the hull.” The audios are not from the submarine and do not correspond to a pattern that could be interpreted as Morse code ,” Balbi said.
The five-day search has entered a” critical phase”, the navy said, because the submarine is approaching the probable limit of its oxygen reserves.
Earlier on Monday, Balbi told reporters that although the vessel has sufficient food and ga to survive 90 days on the surface, it merely had enough oxygen to survive for seven days underwater.
Balbi also theorized that the submarine could have already been traveling underwater due to the rough conditions on the surface when it last attained contact on Wednesday morning.
Balbi had reaffirmed that seven failed satellite telephone call detected by navy listening posts on Saturday morning were not from the submarine.
” None of communications on Saturday were from the San Juan ,” Balbi told reporters. News of the attempted calls were disclosed on Sunday, but they turned out to be from another ship broadcasting on the same frequency employed by the San Juan, Balbi said.
The news came on the morning the submarine had been scheduled to arrive at Mar del Plata naval base on its 10 -day journey from Argentina’s southernmost city of Ushuaia.
” This stage is critical ,” said Balbi. The submarine” should have arrived in Mar del Plata on Sunday or today Monday if the problem had only been a communications breakdown “.
A large number of international ships and aeroplanes, including a British polar exploration vessel, are braving strong gales and six-metre high waves in the area off the coast of Patagonia where the submarine was lost.
The rough conditions were apparently shown in footage posted online by the Argentinian navy on Monday.” These were the meteorological conditions and the state of the sea yesterday in the search and rescue operations zone ,” the navy tweeted.
The US navy has also joined the search, deploying unmanned submersibles and aeroplanes to the South Atlantic.
Two US air force airplanes landed in the southern coastal city of Comodoro Rivadavia on Sunday carrying a US navy submarine rescue squad, including a mini sub, a submersible rescue vehicle and a remote control unmanned submersible equipped with video cameras.
A British Royal Navy Hercules C-1 30 plane and the HMS Protector ice patrol ship are also participating in the rescue effort.
Mauricio Macri met relatives of the crew at the Mar del Plata naval base on Monday morning. The chairwoman said on Twitter that the government was ” deploying all possible national and international resources to find[ the crewmembers] as soon as is practicable “.
But the wait is taking its toll on the relatives of the missing submariners.” Every day is leading us closer to a sad objective, regrettably ,” Carlos Mendoza, friend of crew member Fernando Ariel Mendoza told the Infobae website.” It’s sad, but we have to be realistic .”
Karina Vargas, the spouse of crew member Cayetano Vargas, told the local newspaper San Juan 8 that she had considered her husband in a dream after the submarine had left Ushuaia.
” I’ve never had a bad feeling before, but this time I find him arriving at home before day. He said hello and I constructed joke about asking him to look after the boys so I could go out .”
Other family members have utilized social media to request subsistence during the search.
” Pray so that my husband Fernando Santilli can return home ,” Jesica Gopar said on Twitter.” He’s on the San Juan submarine .”
In another message, she tweeted a picture of her missing husband, with the message:” Your son and I are waiting for you. I love you .”
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