Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found | CBC News

Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found | CBC News
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Indonesia’s military on Sunday officially said all 53 crew members from a submarine that sank and broke apart last week are dead and that search teams had located the vessel’s wreckage on the ocean floor.

The grim announcement comes a day after Indonesia said the submarine was considered sunk, not merely missing, but did not explicitly say whether the crew was dead. Officials previously said the KRI Nanggala 402’s oxygen supply would have run out early Saturday, three days after the vessel went missing off the resort island of Bali.

“We received underwater pictures that are confirmed as parts of the submarine, including its rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, embossed dive rudder and other ship parts,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters in Bali on Sunday.

“With this authentic evidence, we can declare that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all the crew members are dead,” Tjahjanto said.

An underwater robot equipped with cameras documented the lost submarine lying in at least three pieces on the ocean floor at a depth of 838 metres (2,750 feet), said Adm. Yudo Margono, the navy’s chief of staff.

, Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found | CBC News,
A military officer holds a life-jacket believed to be from the sunken Indonesian navy submarine during a media briefing at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali on Sunday. (Johannes P. Christo/Reuters)

Hull could not withstand water pressure

That’s much deeper than the submarine’s collapse depth of 200 metres, at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand, according to earlier navy statements.

The cause of the submarine’s sinking remains uncertain. The navy previously said an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.

, Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found | CBC News,
Mourners from various religions gather in Surabaya, Indonesia, on Sunday to offer prayers for the 53 crew members. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images)

Margono said emergency survival suits that are normally kept in boxes were found floating underwater, apparently indicating the crew may have tried to put them on during the emergency.

The navy plans to eventually lift the wreckage and recover the dead, although the depth of the water poses a significant challenge, he said.

The wreckage is located 1,500 metres to the south of the site where the submarine last dove off Bali’s northern coast, Margono said. Photos of the debris were presented at the news conference.

The underwater robot deployed by Singaporean vessel MV Swift Rescue provided the images, while the Indonesian vessel KRI Rigel had scanned the area where the submarine was believed to have sunk using multi-beam sonar and a magnetometer, Tjahjanto said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo delivered his condolences in a televised address on Sunday.

, Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found | CBC News,
People holding a placard and flowers bow as they pray for the crew of the submarine on Sunday during a vigil in Solo, Central Java province, Indonesia. (Maulana Surya/Antara Foto/Reuters)

“All Indonesians convey deep sorrow for this tragedy, especially to all of the families of the submarine’s crew. They are the best sons of the nation, patriots guarding the sovereignty of the country,” Widodo said.

An American reconnaissance plane, a P-8 Poseidon, landed Saturday and had been set to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.

, Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found | CBC News,
Relatives of the submarine crew members react as they hug at the main naval command office in Surabaya, East Java province, on Sunday. (Didik Suhartono/Antara Foto/Reuters)

The German-built diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 had been in service in Indonesia since 1981 and was carrying 49 crew members and three gunners, as well as its commander, the Indonesian Defence Ministry said.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands, has faced growing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including numerous incidents involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna islands.

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