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Russia, U.S., Britain Aid Search For Missing Argentine Submarine

The Argentine submarine San Juan, shown in 2014.
The Argentine submarine San Juan, shown in 2014.

Russian, U.S., and British teams are aiding the 14-nation search for a missing Argentine Navy submarine, 11 days after the vessel lost contact following an explosion.

Aircraft from Argentina, Britain, and the United States for several days have crisscrossed the South Atlantic in search of the San Juan submarine with 44 crewmembers aboard, and a Russian Antonov transport plane has now brought equipment to aid the effort hampered by rough seas.

"The bad weather conditions really are adverse," navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference on November 26. “We've been searching for 11 days, but that does not remove the chance that [the crew] could still be in an extreme survival situation."

Despite the comments, many officials and family members have lost hope of rescuing crewmembers alive.

The Russian Antonov craft brought an underwater robot that can search the ocean floor as deep as 1,000 meters.

Russia also sent an oceanographic research ship, while the U.S. Navy provided an underwater rescue capsule.

The Argentine Navy reported there had been an explosion aboard the submarine, possibly related to the vessel’s batteries. The submarine originally went into service in 1985.

The search zone is 400 kilometers off the Argentinian coast north of the British-ruled Falkland Islands, which are known in Argentina as the Malvinas.

"There is no precedent in history for a [recovery] deployment of this extent," naval engineer Horacio Tettamanti said.

"The United States and Russia are the most developed in this field, a legacy of the Cold War," he added.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa

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