Dashing any hopes for a miracle ending to the hunt for a missing Indonesian submarine, the sub’s wreckage has been found off the coast of Bali.
Indonesia declared all 53 crew members on board dead, according to The Associated Press.
The submarine had been missing since Wednesday. On Saturday, the day that the sub would have been on the last of its oxygen supply, Indonesia announced that items from the KRI Nanggala 402 had been found.
“It was broken into three pieces,” Navy Chief of Staff Yudo Margono said.
The vessel was able to withstand water pressure only at a depth of 655 feet.
After the sub was located with sonar, a remotely operated vehicle went down to film the wreckage.
Wreckage of the Indonesian #submarine NANGGALA 402 was definitively located 24 April at a depth of about 2800 feet/850 meters, about 42 km north of the Bali coast. All 53 aboard have been declared lost. The submarine is broken into three major pieces. RIP https://t.co/ZK4vimtOuy pic.twitter.com/PF83EDeUof
— Chris Cavas (@CavasShips) April 26, 2021
A submarine escape immersion suit was among the items recovered, Margono said.
“This suit is only used to escape in emergency situations. Normally it is stored inside the box, but since we found it outside we believe that the crew were going to wear it but they had no chance,” he said.
In addressing the cause of the accident, Margono said, “This is not a human error, but a natural/environment factor.”
He did not explain the comment.
Last week, the speculation was that some type of electrical problem had left the submarine unable to do more than drift down to the bottom of the sea.
Indonesian military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said there was no hope.
“We received underwater pictures that are confirmed as the parts of the submarine, including its rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, embossed dive rudder and other ship parts,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“With this authentic evidence, we can declare that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all the crew members are dead,” Tjahjanto said.
“Submarine hulls are pressurized … but when they’re breached then water would come flooding inside,” said Wisnu Wardhana, a maritime expert at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology in Indonesia.
“Can you imagine if water with that kind of pressure hits people?” he said.
Retired French Vice Adm. Jean-Louis Vichot compared the collapse of a sub’s hull to a “folding accordion” if it encounters pressure for which it is not built.
Margano said salvage would be difficult, given the depth.
“We’ll discuss it to make a decision on how to lift the submarine in this condition,” he said. “I want to lift it, but how do we bring it up from [these depths]?”
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