An Indonesian Submarine Carrying 58 People Has Gone Missing, and the Navy Is Racing Against Time to Save It
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At 3 a.m. local time Wednesday, the KRI Nanggala-402, a German-made submarine with 53 crew members on board, asked for permission to dive, officials said. Prior to making the request, the submarine had fired one torpedo with real ammunition and a practice warhead as part of a training exercise in the Bali Strait.
Before the vessel reportedly took part in the exercise and lost contact, it had last docked for maintenance in Surabaya, a port city on the island of Java, per Admiral Yudo Margono, chief of staff of the Indonesian Navy.
Authorities believe that the submarine went between 100 and 200 meter beyond its max limit of 500 meters below sea level as a result of a blackout. Though officials said that the crew members on board are well prepared, they also admitted that the submarine's depth below sea could prove to be fatal.
"Let's pray for them, so they can survive," Indonesian Navy spokesman First Adm. Julius Widjojono told the media.
Two ships with side-scan sonar have been canvassing the area since Wednesday. A warship with more sophisticated sonar technology is expected to join the rescue efforts soon. According to Reuters, several countries — including Malaysia, Singapore and Australia — have also offered assistance.
"I have ordered the military chief, navy chief of staff, the search and rescue agency and other instances to deploy all the forces and the most optimal efforts to find and rescue the submarine crew," President Joko Widodo said on Thursday.
An aerial search of the strait revealed an oil spill near the submarine's dive location, suggesting that the vessel could have been damaged, authorities said. Navy Chief of Staff Margono added that an item with a "high magnetic force" floating at a depth of 50 to 100 meters was also found.