Argentina says abandons submarine crew rescue mission

ARA San Juan: Argentina calls off rescue mission for missing submarine crew but continues search for vessel

The navy has said the vessel's captain reported that water entered the snorkel and caused one of the submarine's batteries to short circuit.

On the morning of November 15, contact was lost with the submarine of the Argentine Navy ARA "San Juan" during its journey from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata, a journey along nearly the entire Argentine coast.

Argentina's navy announced Thursday that the search for a missing submarine that has been lost for 15 days will continue but the rescue part of the mission is over, reflecting the faded hopes for finding the 44 crew members alive.

"More than double the number of days have passed where it would have been possible to rescue the crew", Balbi told a news conference.

An worldwide search mission saw the deployment of 4,000 personnel from more than a dozen countries. The US had already provided other assistance, as did about a dozen other countries.

"Despite the magnitude of our search it has not been possible to find the submarine", he said. The captain later communicated by satellite phone that the problem had been contained.

The US navy said Thursday it had deployed an unmanned recovery vehicle to join the hunt. President Mauricio Macri has promised a full investigation.

During the $12 million retrofitting, the vessel was cut in half and had its engines and batteries replaced.

The position was in line with the path the submarine would have taken to reach its base in Mar del Plata as planned, the navy has said. "He's a hero who must be recognized along with his 43 other crew members".

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