An unusual loud noise that was heard near the last known location of the missing Argentine Navy submarine, ARA San Juan appeared to be an explosion, the Navy confirmed Thursday.
“An anomalous, singular, short, violent and non-nuclear event, consistent with an explosion, was registered,” navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference in Buenos Aires.
The submarine, with 44 crew members on board, was in the southern Argentine Sea, 432 kilometres from the Patagonian coast when it gave its last location on Nov. 15. The contact was lost when the submarine was en route from the Ushuaia naval base in the country’s far south to Mar del Plata base, around 400 kilometres southeast of the capital, Buenos Aires.
Argentina is leading an air-and-sea search with help from several countries including Brazil, Britain, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Russia, the United States and Uruguay.
Underwater sounds detected in the first days of the search by two Argentine search ships were determined to originate from a sea creature, not the vessel. Satellite signals were also determined to be false alarms.