Argentina: Satellite calls 'not from missing submarine'

An Argentine Coast Guard ship is seen at at the naval base where the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine sailed from in Mar del Plata Argentina

Distress calls bring hope to search for missing Argentina sub

The defence ministry has said the submarine appeared to have tried to make contact through seven failed satellite calls on Saturday between late morning and early afternoon.

Teams from several countries have intensified their efforts in the South Atlantic to find the ARA San Juan submarine, which vanished on Wednesday.

The ARA San Juan disappeared 268 miles off Argentina's southern Atlantic coast on Wednesday, with the UK, US, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay all assisting in the search.

Satellite calls that had raised hopes of finding an Argentine submarine that has been lost at sea for five days did not come from the 44 crew members on board, Argentina's navy said Monday, complicating an worldwide rescue effort that has already been hindered by stormy weather.

The TR-1700 class submarine had been returning from a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southernmost tip of South America, to its base at Mar del Plata, about 400 kilometers south of Buenos Aires.

The navy said an electrical outage on the diesel-electric-propelled vessel might have downed its communications.

A Submarine Rescue Chamber, also known as a McCann Chamber, is loaded aboard a cargo plane for transport in this Navy 2008 photo.

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After that, he said, it would have to surface or get near the surface to replenish air supply.

U.S. satellite company Iridium had earlier said that the submarine carried one of its satellite phones on board.

A storm has hindered an global search operation for a missing Argentinian submarine as authorities try to verify whether recent satellite calls were from the submarine with 44 crew members on board.

A signal had had been detected on Saturday and the government had thought they were probably from the submarine. The file was later taken to the Mar del Plata base for analysis.

The sub was heading from a base in southern Argentina's Tierra del Fuego archipelago to Mar del Plata. Previously, the modern diesel-electric sub, built in 1983 and put into service in 1985, went through a mid-life overhaul, completed in 2013. Officials refuted other reports that said the submarine was found and was being towed to safety. The submarine also has an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) and a satellite communications buoy that can be deployed if the vessel is in distress. They had raised hopes that the crew members were alive. The Argentine navy is seeking records from the satellite phone company to help locate where the calls were from.

In the "worst-case scenario", the missing sub could run out of oxygen in two days, Balbi said.

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