Missing submarine has only 'hours of oxygen remaining' as US military join search

23 April 2021, 10:34 | Updated: 23 April 2021, 14:41

Other submarines, including the KRI Alugoro (pictured) have been called in to search for the missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala..
Other submarines, including the KRI Alugoro (pictured) have been called in to search for the missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala.. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Fears are growing for an Indonesian submarine that went missing on Wednesday, with experts calculating the 53 crew have only hours of oxygen remaining.

The US military has sent airborne assets to join the search for KRI Nanggala 402, which was last seen off the island of Bali on Wednesday.

On Thursday, at least 20 navy ships, two submarines and five aircraft were mobilised in the search, with more efforts expected through Friday as offers for help pour in from around the world.

Navy chief of staff Admiral Yudo Margono said the submarine was expected to run out of oxygen by around 3am Saturday.

The cause of the disappearance is still uncertain, which occurred while the diesel-powered submarine was participating in a torpedo drill.

The navy has said an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.

At least 20 navy ships are involved in the search for the missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402.
At least 20 navy ships are involved in the search for the missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402. Picture: PA
Navy chief of staff Admiral Yudo Margono said the submarine only had hours of oxygen left.
Navy chief of staff Admiral Yudo Margono said the submarine only had hours of oxygen left. Picture: PA

Searchers have concentrated around an oil slick found near the location of the submarine's last dive. But there was no conclusive evidence the oil was from the sub.

The navy said it believes the submarine sank to a depth of 2,000-2,300 feet, much deeper than its collapse depth - the depth at which water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.

However, Admiral Margono said they had found an unidentified object with high magnetism was located at a depth of 165 to 330 feet, which they hope could be the vessel.

Searches have concentrated around an oil slick found near the location of the submarine's last dive.
Searches have concentrated around an oil slick found near the location of the submarine's last dive. Picture: PA
The president of Indonesia has called on the country to pray for the crew's safe return.
The president of Indonesia has called on the country to pray for the crew's safe return. Picture: PA

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has asked the country to pray for the crew's safe return and has ordered all-our efforts to locate the crew.

In a televised address on Thursday, he said: "Our main priority is the safety of 53 crew members. To the family of the crew members, I can understand your feelings and we are doing our best to save all crew members on board."

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