Rescuers are beginning to lose hope of finding the missing Argentine submarine, lost in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hopes were raised after rescuers detected a ‘heat stain’, 230ft below the ocean’s surface. Hundreds of people – including relatives of crew members – gathered at the Mar del Plata Naval Base in anticipation of news.
However, rescuers have now said they have found ‘no trace’ of the German-built submarine, following analysis of the heat stain.
A total of 44 crew members are known to be aboard the ARA San Juan, and the seven-day oxygen supply is now due to run out.
Argentine Navy spokesmen Enrique Balbi explained: ‘at the moment we don’t have any trace’. Balbi admitted the situation is now at a critical phase.
This is not the first disappointment in a search which has involved over 4,000 personnel from 12 different countries.
Since the sub went missing on November 15, there have been several detected signals such as sounds or flares. However, these have all turned out to be false alarms.
According to Balbi:
We are continuing with this phase of search and rescue.
We are in the critical part, it has reached the seventh day in terms of oxygen, supposing that for seven days it has not had the capacity to go to the surface and renew the oxygen.
But we are not dismissing the other options, that it could be on the surface.
— deplorable Kimba (@Kimba212Jupiter) November 22, 2017
Some people have criticised the Argentinian navy’s lengthy delay before telling President Mauricio Macri that contact with the submarine had been lost.
Sister of missing radar officer Cristian Ibañez, Helena Alfaro told TV channel Todo Noticias:
I feel like I’m at a wake, that’s how I feel.
I also feel time passing and time is crucial.
I’m deeply pained by the decisions taken. Why so much protocol? Is protocol going to bring them back?
However, Navy chiefs have advised that a 48-hour waiting period before search efforts begin is military protocol.
Holding out hope for the crew on the Argentinian submarine. US Navy locates them, and the crew are down to the wire on oxygen levels. It’d be great to have some great news for a change.
— Melissa (@xosunshinesoul) November 22, 2017
Our thoughts are with those on board the submarine, and their families.