Argentina's Search for Missing Sub Hampered by Bad Weather


The U.S. Navy has ordered its Undersea Rescue Command (URC) based in San Diego to deploy to Argentina Nov. 18, to support the South American nation's ongoing search for the Argentinean Navy submarine A.R.A. San Juan in the Southern Atlantic.

The Argentine Armada, the country's navy, confirmed the news that the calls "would have indicated that the crew is trying to reestablish contact", their official Twitter post reads.

"We are working arduously to locate it and we are transmitting our hopes to the families of the 44 crew members: that they may soon have them in their homes", he wrote.

It goes on to say that "we are working to determine its precise location".

Its last contact with the navy command was on Wednesday morning.

The San Juan is one of three submarines in the Argentine fleet.

The second rescue system, the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) and supporting equipment will be transported via additional flights and is scheduled to arrive in Argentina early next week.

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The systems allow the safe underwater transfer of sailors from a submarine at a depth up to 850 feet.

The German-built diesel-powered vessel set sail on Monday from the southern port of Ushuaia enroute to its base in Mar del Plata, farther north in Buenos Aires province.

An Argentine destroyer and two corvettes are conducting a search around the area of the sub's last known position off the south-eastern Valdez peninsula.

Navy protocol dictates that a vessel should come to the surface if communication has been lost.

Rescue aircraft and vessels are ramping up the search for the sub after a series of attempted distress calls yesterday raised hopes they may be alive, with an electrical problem affecting communications.

The U.S. government is supporting a request from the government of Argentina for global assistance to the ongoing search for the missing submarine and possible rescue opportunities once the vessel and crew are located.