Published: Wed, November 29, 2017
World | By Camille Rivera

Battery on Argentine submarine short-circuited before vessel went missing, navy says

Battery on Argentine submarine short-circuited before vessel went missing, navy says

Bad weather has delayed the arrival of a US undersea rescue module at an area in the South Atlantic where an Argentine submarine went missing with 44 crew members 13 days ago, the Argentine navy said Tuesday. The submarine was refurbished in 2014, when its engine and batteries were replaced.

"Entry of sweater through the ventilation system into a battery tank No. 3 caused a short circuit and the beginnings of a fire in the battery room", the message reportedly said. The batteries on the external bow are out of service.

The last message also states that the submarine "is now diving" and that it will continue to inform the military administration. Shortly after, an underwater explosion was detected in the area of the last submarine site.

A bouquet of flowers and banners in support of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine are placed on a fence outside an Argentine naval base in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 25, 2017. Yesterday, twelve days after its disappearance, ships and aircraft from 15 countries continued their investigations in the area to locate the submarine.

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Balbi said that the crew recorded the arrival of a large amount of water into the device to allow operation of the propulsion system. Surveys focus on a 36-kilometer radius around the blast point, which seems to have sent the submarine to the ocean floor.

Experts say that even if the vessel remained intact under water, the crew only had enough oxygen to last up to 10 days. The Navy initiated a search, which has since been joined by fifteen countries, including Russian Federation. We are now submerging with a divided circuit.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters that water had entered the sub's snorkel, which can be used to take in air from above the surface when the submarine is submerged. "Will keep you informed".

The families have said they suspect the more than 30-year-old vessel was not properly maintained, a charge the government denies, and that the navy has been slow in sharing information with them.

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The commander of the ARA San Juan - which vanished November 15 in the Atlantic Ocean with 14 crew members aboard - sent a message detailing the chain of events that may have led to an explosion.

An global search mission is under way but so far no trace of the sub has been found despite the deployment of 4,000 personnel from more than a dozen countries.

Since then, there have been no signs of the sub or debris despite an intensive multinational search.

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