Indonesia submarine missing, oxygen running out with 53 on board

Rescuers are desperately looking for lost Indonesian submarines as the oxygen for the 53-strong crew runs out

Rescuers are looking for a lost Indonesian submarine that is running out of oxygen with 53 crew members on board.

USA TODAY

Rescue efforts are continuing for a missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members on board, believed to have sunk in deep water north of Bali.

Indonesian search teams have identified an area the submarine could be in, CNN reported Friday. A naval ship found an object 164 to 328 feet below the surface, about 25 miles north of Bali, where an oil spill can be seen.

The submarine disappeared 60 miles north of Bali on Wednesday morning after a military exercise, the Indonesian Navy said. At the time, officials believed the submarine was more than 2,000 feet deep and was recovering impossiblethe authorities said.

While the new location raised hopes the submarine is not as deep as feared, the submarine’s oxygen would be depleted by Saturday, maritime authorities said.

The Associated Press reported The Indonesian Navy continues its search when a sonar-equipped Australian warship arrived to help on Friday. The US is sending “Airborne Assets” in support, Reuters said.

The submarine KRI Nanggala-402 was believed to be 2,000 to 2,300 feet deep, a depth that threatens to crush the ship.

Ahn Guk-hyeon, an official with the South Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, said the AP The submarine’s collapse depth was 200 meters when Daewoo rebuilt the ship’s internal structures and systems in 2009-2012.

The submarine disappeared early Wednesday morning during a military exercise. An oil spill near their final position could indicate damage to the fuel tank or a signal from the submarine’s crew, the Indonesian Navy said.

The German-made submarine was conducting a torpedo exercise when contact was lost. It is believed to be located on the Strait of Bali, a water channel between Bali and Java.

Frank Owen, secretary of the Australian Submarine Institute, said the submarine could be too deep for a rescue team to operate.

Owen, a former submarine operator who developed an Australian submarine rescue system, said the Indonesian ship was not equipped with a rescue seat around an escape hatch designed for underwater rescues. He said a rescue submarine would create a watertight connection to a disabled submarine, with a skirt placed over the rescue seat so the hatch could be opened without the disabled submarine filling up with water.

Twenty-one warships, three submarines, and five planes search for the CNN submarine reported. Singapore, Malaysia and India have each sent submarine rescue ships, according to the United States Naval Institute.

Fleets from the US, Australia, France and Germany have offered to help.

The submarine KRI Nanggala-402 is one of five submarines of the Indonesian Navy. It was built in 1977 by the German company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft. Indonesia bought it in 1981.

SOURCE USA TODAY network reporting and research; Associated Press; Reuters

Desperate hunt for Indonesian submarines as oxygen is running out

Officials say the air supply to the missing submarine would only last until Saturday as the search team discovered a “high magnetic force” at a depth of 50 to 100 meters.

Aljazeera, Aljazeera

Published 11:37 p.m. UTC April 22, 2021
Updated 8:38 p.m. UTC April 23, 2021

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