Argentine submarine wreck found one year after disappearance
MAR DEL PLATA The crushed wreck of an Argentine submarine has been located one year after it vanished into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean with 44 crew members, in the country's worst naval disaster in decades.
Experts say raising the ARA San Juan submarine would be an enormous undertaking costing a billion dollars or more. Defence Minister Oscar Aguad said Argentina had "no means" to do so.
The navy located the submarine at a depth of more than 800m, the navy tweeted, confirming the vessel had imploded.
Relatives of the dead sailors were seen hugging each other, holding their heads in despair and crying inconsolably.
The Seabed Constructor, a ship owned by US search firm Ocean Infinity, made the discovery on Friday, one day after the first anniversary of the disappearance.
The ship had set out in September in the latest attempt to find the San Juan, whose disappearance cost the navy's top officer his job.
The navy lost contact with the submarine on November 15, 2017, about 450km from the coast while it was traveling northward from Ushuaia, at Argentina's southern tip.
Admiral Jose Villan, the navy's new top commander, said that the rough terrain on the ocean floor made it difficult for search vessels, which had already trawled the site, to find the sub.
Pieces that were 11, 13 and 30m long were spotted in a "moon-like zone with craters and canyons", said Navy Captain Enrique Balbi, adding that the hull had been "crushed inwards".
Mr Aguad met earlier with family members to show photos taken by an underwater robot. They showed a propeller, the sub's bow with torpedo-launching tubes and an upper section of the vessel lying on the ocean floor.
"We are all destroyed here," said Yolanda Mendiola, the mother of crewman Leandro Cisneros, 28.
"I still had hopes that they could be alive," Luis Niz, the father of a missing sailor, told reporters.- AFP