BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina says that a submarine rescue module from the United States is reaching an area in the South Atlantic where an Argentine submarine disappeared 12 days ago with 44 crew members on board .
Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said Monday that a Norwegian ship carrying the submarine vehicle operated by remote control of the US Navy and its pressurized rescue module would reach the search area later.
The Navy says an explosion occurred near the time and place where the submarine ARA San Juan disappeared on November 15.
Experts say that the crew only had enough oxygen to last up to 10 days if the submarine remained intact but submerged.
The navy says that more than a dozen countries are still looking for the submarine.
The German-made diesel-electric submarine set off on a training mission on November 8 from the southernmost port of Ushuaia en route to Mar del Plata.
"Two days before sailing, there was a check for the entire operating system," Balbi said at a press conference on Saturday. "The submarine does not sail if that is not done, if it left Ushuaia, it was because it was in a position to do it."
Balbi said the captain reported on November 15 that there had been an electrical problem in a battery compartment. But then he communicated by satellite phone that the problem had been solved and that he would continue the submerged trip to Mar del Plata.
On Monday, Balbi told reporters that a battery was short-circuited when water entered the vessel through a snorkel. Reuters news agency reports.
"They had to isolate the battery and continue sailing underwater to Mar del Plata, using another battery," Balbi said, according to Reuters.
Since then, there has been no contact with the San Juan, and there are no signs of the ship or debris despite an intensive search.
But it was also on November 15 that both the US Navy UU as the international monitoring agency banned nuclear tests detected what appeared to be a submarine explosion in the area where the submarine was operating.
Relatives of crew members suggested that the 33-year-old ship, which was refurbished in 2014, was in poor condition.
Hundreds of people from Mar del Plata gathered outside the naval b Session on Saturday to express solidarity with the family members of the crew, applauding them and shouting: "Be strong, we are with you".
Then they joined in singing the national anthem, and many embraced.
The demonstration applauded some.
"We feel supported by the people," said Zulma de Vallejos, mother of crew member Celso Oscar Vallejos. "I know my son is going back, I know he will come back alive, the last word has not been uttered."
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