BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine navy continues to coordinate with international allies in the search for its submarine, which disappeared last Wednesday along the country’s Atlantic coast with 44 crewmen on board.
Helping to search for the ARA San Juan are Chile, Brazil, the US, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Uruguay and Peru, although other countries have offered their cooperation in the search and rescue operation, as confirmed on Saturday by Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Aguad.
The last time the sub reported was on Wednesday morning and when it continually missed the deadline for establishing communications again the search was launched on Thursday morning and is still under way.
The US Southern Command on Sunday sent a second aircraft to assist in the operation, a P-8A Poseidon with a crew of 21 from Jacksonville, Florida, which is expected to arrive in Argentina in the coming hours.
The Southern Command earlier had sent a P-3 surveillance plane belonging to NASA.
“We’re in contact with the families of the crew ... to inform them and support them. We share their concern and that of all Argentines,” Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on his official Twitter account.
The German-built diesel-powered vessel has set sail on Monday from the southern port of Ushuaia en route to its base in Mar del Plata, farther north in Buenos Aires province.
The Defense Minister said on Saturday night that the last known position of the ARA San Juan was in the San Jorge Gulf area some 240 nautical miles (432 kilometers) from the coast.
The Argentine navy on Saturday detected seven satellite calls made to different naval bases from the sub, but added that these calls “did not manage to establish contact.”
Although the calls did not link up with the navy bases, the ministry said that they could indicate that the crew is trying to re-establish contact.
“With the collaboration of a US company specializing in satellite communication, we are now working to determine the precise location of the transmitter of the signals, given the presumption that it could be the submarine carrying 44 crew members on board,” the ministry said in its statement.
All terrestrial communications stations along the Argentine coast have been ordered to search for communications and listen to all possible frequencies of transmission by the submarine to try and make contact with the vessel.
Weather conditions in the region have made the search difficult, spokesmen said, with 6-8 meter (20-26 foot) waves prevailing there in recent days.