Submarine Goes Missing With 44 Crew Members On Board

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Buenos Aires: An Argentine submarine with 44 crew on board was missing in the South Atlantic two days after its last communication, prompting the navy to step up its search efforts late on Friday in difficult, stormy conditions. The ARA San Juan was in the southern Argentine sea 432 km (268 miles) from the Patagonian coast when it sent its last signal on Wednesday, naval spokesman Enrique Balbi said.

The emergency operation was formally upgraded to a search-and-rescue procedure on Friday evening after no visual or radar contact was made with the submarine, Balbi said.  “Detection has been difficult despite the quantity of boats and aircraft” involved in the search, Balbi said, noting that heavy winds and high waves were complicating efforts.

“We are investigating the reasons for the lack of communication,” Argentine naval spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters. “If there was a communication problem, the boat would have to come to the surface.”