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Indonesian Navy says submarine with 53 crew sank after items found

An Indonesian submarine that disappeared off the coast of Bali sank, the country’s navy said on Saturday, with no hope that its 53 crew would be saved.

The navy chief said a search party had recovered fragments of the KRI Nanggala 402, including items from inside the ship, whose oxygen reserves would have already been depleted.

Warships, airplanes and hundreds of military personnel are searching for the affected vessel. Authorities said the German-made spacecraft was equipped with enough oxygen for just three days after losing power.

That period expired on Saturday morning.

“We raised the status from submissive to submerged,” Navy Chief Yudo Margono told reporters, adding that the recovered items could not have come from another ship.

“(The items) would not have left the submarine without external pressure or without damage to their torpedo launcher.”

Navy officials displayed several items, including a piece of a torpedo and a bottle of grease used to lubricate a submarine’s periscope.

They also found a prayer mat used by Muslims.

The submarine – one of five in the Indonesian fleet – disappeared on Wednesday morning during live torpedo training exercises on the Indonesian holiday island.

An oil spill located where the submarine would have submerged pointed to possible damage to the fuel tank, fueling the fear of a deadly disaster.

There was concern that the submarine could be crushed by water pressure to sink to depths of 700 meters (2,300 feet) – well below what it was built to support.

Few explanations

The vessel was scheduled to carry out training exercises when requesting permission to dive. He lost contact shortly after.

The authorities did not offer possible explanations for the submarine’s sudden disappearance or comment on doubts about whether the decades-old ship was overloaded.

The military said the submarine, delivered to Indonesia in 1981, was able to sail.

Neighboring Singapore and Malaysia, as well as the United States and Australia, were among the nations that aided the hunt with nearly two dozen ships positioned to scour a search zone that covers about 10 square nautical miles (34 square kilometers).

Australia’s HMAS Ballarat arrived on Saturday with a US P-8 Poseidon aircraft also helping to find the aircraft.

Singapore’s MV Swift Rescue – a submarine rescue ship – was expected on Saturday.

The Indonesian military said earlier that it had detected signs of an object with high magnetism at a depth of between 50 and 100 meters (165 and 330 feet), fueling hopes of finding the submarine.

But Saturday’s announcement means that the Southeast Asian archipelago joins a list of countries hit by fatal submarine accidents.

Among the worst was the sinking of the Kursk in 2000, the pride of the Northern Russian Fleet.

This submarine was maneuvering in the Barents Sea when it sank with the loss of all 118 on board. An investigation found that a torpedo had exploded, detonating everyone else.

Most of his crew died instantly, but some survived for several days before suffocating.

In 2003, 70 Chinese naval officers and crew were killed, apparently suffocated, in an accident on a Ming-class submarine during exercises in 2003.

Five years later, 20 people were killed by poison gas when a fire extinguishing system was accidentally activated on a Russian submarine that was being tested in the Sea of ​​Japan.

And in 2018, authorities found the wreckage of an Argentine submarine that had disappeared a year earlier with 44 sailors on board.

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