Indonesia navy finds items from lost sub, indicating it sunk

SUBMARINE-SINGAPORE-RESCUE-SHIP

The KRI Nanggala-402 went missing on Wednesday morning after rehearsing for torpedo drills around 60 miles north of the island of Bali, Indonesia's navy said.

A press conference is scheduled for later Saturday.

Singaporean rescue ships were also expected later Saturday, while Malaysian rescue vessels were due to arrive Sunday, bolstering the underwater hunt, Indonesia military spokesperson Djawara Whimbo said earlier Saturday.

Indonesian military spokesperson Achmad Riad told reporters late on Friday that the precise location of the submarine was "not certain" but "with existing support, it can be found immediately".

Kirby also said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was meeting with his counterpart in Indonesia - Prabowo Subianto - to pursue other means of worldwide assistance.

Indonesia had pressed ahead with the search for the navy submarine, with a USA reconnaissance plane and other nations' vessels joining the hunt.

Indonesian military officials are holding out hope that a rescue is still possible, but they expressed concern shortly after the submarine went missing that it may have gone too deep to recover.

He had said Indonesia's hydrographic vessel was still unable to detect an unidentified object exhibiting high magnetism that was earlier detected located at a depth of 50 to 100 meters (165 to 330 feet).

There had been no signs of life from the submarine, but family members held out hope that the massive search effort would find the vessel in time.

KRI Nanggala-402 is a 61.3meters-long (201 feet) attack submarine and has 53 personnel on board.

"The family is in a good condition and keeps praying", said Ratih Wardhani, the sister of 49-year-old crewman Wisnu Subiyantoro. Admiral Yudo Margono, the Indonesian Navy's chief of staff, said oil may have seeped out of a crack in the submarine's fuel tank or the crew could have intentionally released fuel to reduce the vessel's weight so it could surface, as per AP.

The search focused on an area near the starting position of its last dive where an oil slick was found but there was no conclusive evidence so far the oil slick was from the sub.

But even if officials locate the missing submarine, rescuing the crew will pose a serious challenge, said Director Frank Owen of the Submarine Institute of Australia to NBC News.

It's feared that the submarine may have sunk in a particularly deep spot of the otherwise relatively shallow Bali Sea, at a depth of over 600 meters (2,000 feet).

An Indonesian defense expert said the crew could still be found alive.

The navy has said a blackout may have occurred during static diving, causing a loss of control and preventing emergency procedures from being carried out. In November 2017, an Argentine submarine went missing with 44 crew members in the South Atlantic, nearly a year before its wreckage was found at a depth of 800 metres (2,625 feet). Most of the Kursk's crew died instantly but some survived for several days before suffocating.

But the passing of Saturday's oxygen deadline was likely to mean the Southeast Asian archipelago would be added to a list of countries struck by fatal submarine accidents.

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