12:47 GMT26 February 2021
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    The ARA San Juan submarine that has been lost in the Atlantic Ocean for 12 days had set sail without two of its crew members who went ashore just minutes before the vessel took to the sea, Clarin newspaper has reported, citing a Navy spokesman.

    According to Enrique Balbi, one of the two submariners was allowed to skip the mission after he learned that his mother had been hospitalized.

    The other was allowed ashore just minutes before the submarine set sail to properly register his newly-acquired house, his mother told the newspaper.

    It was earlier reported that the number of people on board the San Juan allegedly exceeded the prescribed number by seven people, a brother of one of the submarine’s junior officers told Sputnik.

    Among the extra seven members were two combat swimmers from the Buzos Tacticos special purpose unit of the Argentine Navy, as well as an employee of the Naval Intelligence Service, the source said, citing the spouse of an intelligence agent who is on board the distressed submarine.

    On Friday, a Russian Antonov An-124 transport jet, sent out to assist in the search for the missing submarine, landed in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia bringing in an electric submersible capable of diving to a depth of up to 6,000 meters (19,685 feet).

    The ARA San Juan submarine with a crew of 44 stopped responding to calls on November 15, while en route from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata.

    READ MORE: 'Explosion' Detected Near Last Known Location of Missing Argentine Sub — Navy

    The Argentine Navy said in a statement on Thursday that an explosion had likely occurred when the sub went missing.

    Navy officials fear that even if the submarine is still intact, her crew might be running out of oxygen.


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