Hopes of rescuing 53 sailors extinguished after Indonesian navy confirms vessel sank
Hopes of rescuing 53 sailors trapped in a missing Indonesian submarine were extinguished yesterday as the country’s navy announced it had found the wreckage 2,800ft undertater in a deep-sea crevice.
The 43-year-old KRI Nanggala-402 vessel disappeared on Wednesday and was due to run out of oxygen early Saturday morning as search and rescue crews raced against time.
But debris, including prayer mats and parts of the submarine, were found nearby to where it had requested permission to dive before vanishing.
“With the authentic evidence we found believed to be from the submarine, we have now moved from the ‘sub miss’ phase to ‘sub sunk,”‘ Navy Chief Yudo Margono told a press conference, in which the found items were displayed.
He said no bodies had been found, but the components would not have detached from the ship without “pressure from outside or a crack in the torpedo launcher”.
The submarine’s depth of 2,800ft was over four times beyond its survivable limit of 655 feet, at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.
Contact with the vessel was lost around 60 miles north of the resort island of Bali. The cause of its disappearance remains uncertain.
Previously the navy speculated that an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to resurface.
An international search mission, including an American reconnaissance plane, a P-8 Poseidon, and a sonar-equipped Australian warship had been due to launch on Saturday.
The submarine was constructed in 1978 and has been in service in Indonesia since 1981, part of a fleet of five operated by the world’s largest archipelago nation.
Much of Indonesia’s military equipment still in service is old and there have been deadly accidents in recent years, despite the country’s effort to modernise its defence capabilities in the face of challenges to its maritime claims by Chinese vessels.