Buenos Aires: A US Navy rescue crew has joined the international search effort for an Argentine submarine and its 44 crew members missing for several days beneath the stormy southern Atlantic Ocean.
The submarine vanished last Wednesday 430 km off the Argentine coast. US Navy sailors with Undersea Rescue Command (URC) departed Miramar with a Submarine Rescue Chamber and four aircraft, en route to where the ARA San Juan lost contact with the Argentine Navy.
As winds and waves of up to 20 feet complicated the search, authorities spent Sunday analyzing data from possible satellite calls that were thought to have been made from the vessel, NBC News reported on Monday.
"We analyzed these signals, which as we know were intermittent and weak," said Commander Gabriel Galeazzi. "They could not help determine a point on the map to help the search."
US satellite communications company Iridium Communications Inc said the signals did not originate with its device aboard the vessel and may have been from another satellite communications company's equipment.
URC sailors will join the Navy's P-8A Poseidon maritime aircraft and a NASA research aircraft, both already aiding in the ongoing search efforts near the submarine's last known location.
The US Navy has deployed its sailors and is also contributing unmanned underwater vehicles. More rescue equipment is scheduled to arrive in Argentina early next week.
Argentine Navy spokesman Capt Enrique Balbi said 11 boats and 10 planes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay, the UK and the US were currently taking part in the search.
The ARA San Juan was returning from a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southern-most tip of South America, to its base at Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires. Its last contact with Navy command was on Wednesday morning.
It is thought that the submarine may have had communication difficulties caused by a power cut.