The Indonesian navy confirmed on Saturday that a missing submarine with 53 men on board had “sunk” from Bali, leaving crew with no hope of survival as oxygen reserves ran out.
Also read: Intense search to find Indonesian submarine
The Navy found several wreckage of the submarine at sea, which we have not heard since Wednesday, some of which came from inside the submarine, indicating irreparable damage.
Hundreds of soldiers and twenty boats were mobilized to identify the sinking KRI 402, which was forty years old for German construction.
The Navy estimated a maximum of 72 hours of oxygen reserves for the crew in the event of a power failure and this deadline was approved early Saturday morning, making their chances of survival unlikely.
“Based on what we believe KRI came from Nanga, we have changed the status of the submarine from + missing + to + sinking,” Indonesian Navy spokesman Yudo Margono told a conference.
The wreckage found could “not come out of the submarine without external pressure or damage to its torpedo launcher system,” he said.
The Navy seized a number of items, including a part of the torpedo system and a grease bottle used to lubricate the submarine’s periscope.
She also found a prayer rug used by Muslims.
The search continues but the deep rescue operation is “extremely dangerous and difficult,” a Navy spokesman said.
“We do not know the status of the victims as we have not found anything yet.” “But once you find these items, you can make your own conclusions.”
The submarine, one of five available to the Indonesian navy, made the dive north of the island of Bali on Wednesday morning during a planned military maneuver. Contact with the submersible was immediately lost.
Military officials estimate the submarine may have sunk to a depth of 700 meters, much deeper than it was designed to.
They did not elaborate on what happened beyond the planned blockade or why he had more people.
Experts said the appearance of droplets of oil at the spot where he dived could lead to fears that the reservoir would rupture or even the submarine would be dismantled.
Retired French Vice Admiral Jean-Louis Vicot, a former commander of the Nuclear Missile Submarine (SNLE), described the fuel slick as a “bad sign”.
“This diesel will be in bunkers outside and inside. If the hull is cracked, the tanks will break and the diesel surface will rise, ”he told AFP.
This type of submarine is designed to withstand pressure up to a depth of 300 or 400 meters. The expert said that in case of strong pressure their shell is likely to rupture.
The Navy said the submarine, which was delivered to Indonesia in 1981, was in good condition.
The Southeast Asian archipelago did not have its own submarine rescue capabilities and called in foreign navies.
Two Australian Navy ships arrived in the area while the United States Air Force was dispatched.
In addition to reinforcements from India and Malaysia, the Singaporean ship MV Swift, which specializes in submarine rescue, is also expected to rescue.
Indonesia has never experienced serious incidents related to its submarine before, but many other countries have been hit by deadly accidents.
In 2000, Kursk, Russia’s nuclear-powered submarine of the Northern Fleet, sank during maneuvers in the Barents Sea (northwestern Russia), killing 118 crew.
In 2017, the Argentine submarine San Juan, with 44 sailors, disappeared 400 kilometers off the coast.