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The hunt for the missing submarine turns into a rescue effort when the Indonesian navy declares that it sank

Bali, Indonesia – The search for a missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members turned into a rescue effort on Sunday after the wreckage found it broke when it sank off the coast of Bali.

Warships, planes and hundreds of military personnel have led a frantic search for the KRI Nanggala 402 since it disappeared this week during training exercises, hoping for a miraculous rescue before its oxygen reserves are depleted.

But the Navy acknowledged on Saturday that pieces of the submarine, including items from inside the ship, had been recovered.

They declared that he had sunk, effectively ending any chance of finding survivors.

Among the items recovered was a piece of the torpedo system and a bottle of grease used to lubricate the periscopes.

They also found a prayer mat commonly used in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world.

The relatives of First Lieutenant Muhammad Imam Adi, a father of a 29-year-old son, held on to hope.

“My wish now is that my son and the entire crew can be found,” said Adi’s father, Edy, from his home on the island of Java.

“My son wanted to be a soldier since he was a child. That was his dream.”

Authorities did not give an official explanation for the accident, but said the submarine may have suffered a blackout and left its crew unable to return to the surface.

Navy chief Yudo Margono ruled out an explosion, however, saying on Saturday that evidence suggested the submarine broke up when crushed by water pressure at depths of more than 800 meters (2,600 feet) – well below that of Nanggala it was built to withstand.

On Sunday, the search team focused on pinpointing the submarine’s exact location.

Authorities warned that any rescue operation would be risky and difficult in deep waters.

Singapore’s MV Swift Rescue – a submarine rescue ship – has arrived to assist in the recovery effort, the Navy said on Sunday.

Neighboring Malaysia, as well as the United States, India and Australia, are among the nations that helped in the search.

Search vessels, reconnaissance aircraft and submarine rescue vessels were deployed to search an area of ​​about 10 square nautical miles (34 square kilometers).

The submarine – one of five in the Indonesian fleet – disappeared on Wednesday morning when it was scheduled to do live torpedo training exercises in Bali.

The crew asked for permission to dive. He lost contact shortly after.

Later, the search teams detected an oil spill where the ship was thought to have submerged, pointing to possible damage to the fuel tank and a catastrophic accident.

So far, the authorities have not commented on questions about whether the decades-old ship was overloaded, but said the submarine – delivered to Indonesia in 1981 – was in a position to sail.

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