Missing Argentine navy submarine ARA San Juan 'imploded' at sea

An Argentine navy submarine that went missing last year may have partially imploded while at sea, a senior official has said.

The ARA San Juan disappeared on 15 November 2017 and was finally found on Friday night after an extensive search aided by international navies - including the UK and US.

Speaking at the first news conference since its discovery by the specialist American survey ship Ocean Infinity, naval captain Enrique Balbi said the working theory was that the vessel had imploded close to the seabed.

It was located at a depth of around 907m (2,975ft) in the waters off the Valdes Peninsula and was surrounded by a field of rubble, with underwater turbulence making visibility difficult.

Military ships will be deployed to the scene - hundreds of miles from its last reported position - to obtain high-res images and information from the submarine, which had 44 crew members on-board at the time it disappeared.

Teams will dive down to whatever is left of the San Juan during an operation that is expected to last about seven hours, but defence minister Oscar Aguad has warned that the country "does not have the means to recover the wreckage".

The vessel is thought to be scattered in pieces on the ocean floor.

News of its discovery was met with both relief and sadness, with relatives of the crew react having gathered outside the naval base in Mar del Plata where the submarine was based to mark one year since it disappeared.

Some spoke of the hope they felt that their loved ones would still be found alive.

President Mauricio Macri has promised a full investigation into what happened to the submarine, which lost contact with the navy as it passed the San Jorge Gulf about 500 miles (800km) northwest of the Falkland Islands.

It had set-off from the town of Ushuaia on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago - the southernmost tip of South America.

When contact with the vessel was lost, it was said to have had seven days worth of air - but had been taking on water through its snorkel.

The German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine dated back to the mid-1980s and had been most recently refurbished in 2014, when it was cut in half as its engines and batteries were replaced.

Experts said even the smallest mistake during the cutting process can lead to accidents later.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo
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