Argentina unsure if signals came from lost submarine

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November 19, 2017 8:01 pm Published by

The Argentinemilitarysubmarine ARA San Juan and crew are seen leaving the port of BuenosAires, Argentina June 2, 2014. 

Armada Argentina/Handout/REUTERS

BUENOSAIRES, ArgentinaArgentina’s Navy could not confirmSunday if seven brief satellitecallsreceived a day prior were from a lost submarine with 44 crew members onboard.

“We do not have clearevidence that (the calls) have come from that unit,” said Admiral Gabriel Gonzalez, chief of the Mardel Plata Naval Base. “We are analyzing more closely to reliably determine that they were not callscoming from the submarine.”

Gonzalez said the Navy has intensified its aerial search off the country’s southernAtlanticcoastafter adverse weatherconditions spurred waves up to 26 feet and made a maritimesearch difficult.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the low-frequency satellitesignalsreceivedSaturday lasted a “few seconds,” but had not connected with a base, partly due to inclement weather. The communicationattempts were originally thought to indicate that the crew was trying to re-establish contact.

On Sunday, search units were largely relying on information gathered from a British polar exploration vessel, the HMS Protector, which was equipped with an underwater searchprobe and was following the path taken by the submarine, the ARA San Juan.

Gonzalez also confirmed the U.S. Navy’s UnderseaRescueCommand had been deployed to the search area, along with aircraft from Argentina, Brazil and the U.S.and 11 surface vessels.

Among the 44 crew members is Eliana Krawczyk, the firstfemalesubmarineofficer in Argentina.

Authorities said the submarine left the extremesouthern port of Ushuaia on Wednesday and lost contact as it was heading to Mardel Plata, a city on the country’s northeastern coast.

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