Today is six days since the last contact with the Argentine submarine ARA “San Juan” that disappeared on his return trip to Mar del Plata. Inside the submersible are 44 crew members, including South America’s first submarine officer, Eliana Krawczyk.
The protocol dictates that in peacetime the crew had to communicate with the base twice a day. Therefore, after a day without news, the time trial search began on Thursday led by the Argentine Navy.
The president, Mauricio Macri, affirmed on Saturday on Twitter that his government is committed to using “all national and international resources” to find the submarine, one of the three in the South American country. Saving the life of the 44 crew members has become an international cause. In the South Atlantic, numerous ships and planes have come from countries such as Chile, Brazil, the United States, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Peru to assist in tracking.
However, the rescuers face a search area of 480,000 square kilometers, greater than the United Kingdom, and some violent weather conditions: “Both aircraft and ships have endured extreme weather conditions, with winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour, rainfall of different intensity and waves up to seven meters high”, the Navy said in a statement.
The rescue plan is reminiscent of the Chilean miners trapped in 2010. It consists in locating the missing submarine, and then lowering a pressurized “mini-submarine”. This ship would connect with the ARA “San Juan” to be able to evacuate, from six in six, the 44 crew members.
Time is short to avoid a tragedy. “Under normal conditions, the submarine can spend 90 days without outside help, in terms of fuel, water, oil and oxygen, that is, snorkeling to renew the air and charge the batteries. This is done once a day, or each two or three days, these are the normal conditions”, said Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi.
However, if the submarine fails to rise to the surface to renew air, the crew have seven days of oxygen.
And today six are met since his disappearance.