10:39 GMT +317 October 2019
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    The Argentine military submarine ARA San Juan and crew are seen leaving the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina. (File)

    Missing Argentine Sub Reported Battery on Fire in Final Message

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    The Argentine navy has abandoned its rescue mission for the crew of the San Juan submarine that went missing as a result of what is believed a battery fire caused by a leak. The search is now on for a wreck on the ocean floor where the vessel vanished two weeks ago, British media reported.

    Navy spokesman Captain Enrique Balbi said on Thursday that the search for the missing submarine had been "extended to more than double the number of days that determine the possibilities of rescuing the crew.

    His comment referred to the estimated time the crew could have survived with the amount of oxygen remaining on board the submerged vessel.

    "Despite the magnitude of the efforts made, it has not been possible to locate the submarine," Enrique Balbi said.

    “We will continue the search… there will not be people saved," he added.

    The ARA San Juan submarine with a crew of 44 had a seven-day supply of air when it stopped responding to calls on November 15 shortly after it reported what was described as a "short circuit" in the vessel's batteries, while en route from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata.

    The sub’s captain was ordered to cancel the mission and return to base immediately.

    Balbi earlier told reporters that in his last message the captain of the San Juan said that water had entered submarine's snorkel its batteries were being changed causing them to short circuit and to smolder.

    Eight days after the sub vanished, the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which operates a network of listening posts to monitor nuclear explosions, said that it had detected a "hydro-acoustic anomaly" about 30 nautical miles north of the sub's last-known position a few hours after the sub's last contact.

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

    The Argentine navy believes it could have been the sound of the submarine imploding after reaching crush depth.

    ​The rescue operation to find a missing #Argentine #submarine has now changed to a search mission, navy spokesman says https://t.co/dL1XS6SBRA @newnewspage pic.twitter.com/Y8R5QbSA0o

    ​Balbi said 28 ships, nine planes and 4,000 people from 18 countries were involved in the search effort in an area of the ocean covering 557,000 nautical miles.

    Related:

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    Hopes Fading as Search for Missing Argentine Sub Enters Second Week
    Tags:
    short circuit, missing submarine, rescue effort, leak, Argentine Navy, Enrique Balbi, Argentina
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