The argentine submarine disappeared, had reported damage

Casey Dawson
November 21, 2017

Earlier in the day, the navy said the San Juan, a German-built TR-1700class diesel-electric submarine launched in 1983, had reported a mechanical breakdown in its final communication last Wednesday.

The communication attempts received on Saturday were originally thought to indicate that the crew was trying to re-establish contact, prompting emotional celebrations by family members and officials.

The sonar systems of the two ships detected noises sounding like tools being banged against the hull of a submarine, according to a senior US Navy official familiar with the Navy's assistance in the search for the Argentine vessel.

"There were seven attempts with a very weak signal that failed to connect", the officer said.

The TR-1700 class submarine had been returning from a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southernmost tip of South America, to its base at Mar del Plata, about 400 kilometers south of Buenos Aires.

The noises sounded like tools being banged on the hull of a submarine to attract the attention of rescuers, CNN reported, citing an unnamed senior United States navy official familiar with the global search effort.

The Southern Command of the United States (SOUTHCOM), based in Miami Florida, reported that a US Military aircraft with a crew of 21 members will depart from Jacksonville, the northern part of the state of Florida, and is expected to arrive this Sunday in the South American country.

The U.S. Navy was also involved in the search and sent a crew consisting of four aircraft and a "submarine rescue chamber" equipped to rescue up to six people at a time, NBC News reported.

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Seven signals picked up at the weekend were not from a missing submarine's satellite phone, Argentina's navy says. "That is why we are now giving priority to the search for the sunken submarine".

The vessel disappeared 430km (267 miles) off the Argentine coast.

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

Among the planes overflying the area are a P-3 Orion plane belonging to Nasa, which has been diverted from a mission in the Antarctic, and a British Hercules C-130 stationed at the nearby Falkland Islands.

The submarine's last known location was off the coast of Puerto Madryn in southern Argentina. "The Falkland Islands government extends its honest hope that the submarine is found swiftly", the statement said. But the weather continues to pose significant challenges to a rescue attempt as well as the search, and it will be hard to dock the Submarine Rescue Chamber to the San Juan's deck if the sub is on its side or at an angle on the bottom.

The missing submarine - ARA San Juan - has a crew of 44.

Other relatives were equally distressed.

Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, has travelled to the coastal city of Chapadmalal, near Mar del Plata, because of the situation.

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