US Navy team joins hunt for missing Argentine submarine

Time running out for Argentine sub crew? Canada monitoring situation, search intensifies

Time running out for Argentine sub crew? Canada monitoring situation, search intensifies

ARA San Juan with 44 crew lost communication since Wednesday after reporting an occurrence of an electrical malfunction.

But spokesman Enrique Balbi said the noise was unlikely to have been caused by the submarine.

Argentina's navy says it's analyzing a noise that might have come from a missing submarine with 44 crew members on board.

Authorities last had contact with the German-built, diesel-electric sub on Wednesday as it was sailing from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to Mar del Plata.

Specialist underwater rescue equipment has arrived in Argentina from the United States and more boats and planes have also joined the search, which has been hampered by heavy winds and high waves. Authorities have mainly been scanning the sea from the sky, as storms have made it hard for boats.

It was reported Monday afternoon that several boats participating in the search of the submarine detected a "noise" that could belong to the missing vessel some 360 km from the Valdes Peninsula in Argentine Patagonia, where the Atlantic Ocean has an average depth of 200 metres, reports Efe news.

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The sonar systems of two ships detected noises sounding like tools being banged against the hull of a submarine, according to a senior US Navy official familiar with the Navy's assistance in the search for the Argentine vessel.

"We do not have clear evidence that (the calls) have come from that unit", said Adm. Gabriel Gonzalez, commander of the Mar del Plata Naval Base. The craft was navigating normally, underwater, at a speed of five knots toward Mar del Plata when it was last heard from, he said.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri travelled to Mar del Plata Monday morning, where the submarine's base of operations is located, to monitor the situation and support the families of the crew members on the missing submarine. "We continue to do everything, deploying all available national and global media, to find them as soon as possible". Relatives of the crew members have gathered at the base to receive psychological counseling and wait for news about their loved ones.

Intermittent satellite communications were detected on Saturday and the government had said they were likely to have come from the submarine.

If the sub is bobbing adrift on the surface and the hatch is open, it will have an available air supply and enough food for about 30 days, he said.

The San Juan carries red and green flares, Balbi said, but authorities will still try to identify the origin of the white signals.

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