Mystery of Argentine sub lost in 2017 ends, deep in Atlantic sea
An Argentine military submarine has been found deep in the Atlantic Ocean almost a year to the day after it disappeared with 44 crew members aboard, the Argentine navy said Saturday, resolving a mystery over its fate that had transfixed the nation.
The submarine, the San Juan, was located about 2,600 feet below the ocean’s surface by a private company the government hired after an international search failed to find it. It was discov- ered about 250 nautical miles from the port of Comodoro Rivadavia in Chubut province.
“I have mixed feelings,” Oscar Aguad, the Argentine defense minister, said at a news conference Saturday where officials showed grainy photographs of the wreckage. “On one hand, there is relief over finding the submarine. On the other, it is a tragedy.”
Naval officials said at the same news conference that it was too early to say whether the submarine could be recovered, adding that Argentina’s navy does not have the means to recover it.
The San Juan disappeared Nov. 15, 2017. It was found by Ocean Infinity, a Houston-based company known for its work trying to locate missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean in 2014. The company used unmanned, robotic devices to find it.
Argentina’s government signed a contract with the company in August that guaranteed it $ 7.5 million if it found the submarine. The contract was signed after many of the crew members’ relatives accused the government of abandoning the search. Dozens of them set up a makeshift camp outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for 52 days, demanding that a private company be hired to look for the submarine.
Officials said they will release a report next week with more technical details.