Missing Argentina Submarine Carried More than its Capacity

No sign of the vessel has been reported since November 15, shortly after the captain reported an electrical fault.

The missing Argentine submarine San Juan was carrying more than three times the amount of people allowed, declared the brother of a crew member to local media on Sunday. 

RELATED: ‘Hope and Hopelessness’ Mark Search for Missing Submarine

The ship was only suited for 37 permanent spots but was instead carrying 44 people on board, he said to RIA Novosti.

Moreover, the seven extra people had no expertise in submarine navigation. Among them were two combat swimmers from Argentine Navy's Buzos Tácticos and an official from the Navy Intelligence Service, whose wife leaked the information.

The day before, the relatives of the 44 missing crew members held a religious ceremony, even though the Navy has yet to declare them dead.

But many relatives of the crew have lost hope since the Navy announced Thursday that there had been an explosion on board the submarine, which experts said was likely linked to a problem with its batteries and would likely have been catastrophic.

President Mauricio Macri on Friday ordered an inquiry to "know the truth" about what happened to the San Juan.

Argentina's navy has been fiercely criticized for its handling of the operation since first reporting on November 16 that the San Juan had not returned to base as scheduled.

Opposition politicians blamed the loss on a reduction in funding for the armed forces, whose budget has declined since the fall of a military dictatorship in the 1980s.

Magistrate Marta Yanez has already begun preliminary investigations into the disaster.

She told reporters that unlike a plane, "the submarine does not have a black box. The black box is the submarine," and it would have to be recovered before the causes of the explosion could be known.

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Argentina Navy Confirms Explosion Inside Lost Submarine

Relatives of the officers inside of the submarine in Argentina have strongly criticized the actions of the government and the Navy.

The Argentine Navy has confirmed that there was an explosion in the area where the lost submarine was last seen on Nov. 15, Clarin reported. Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi mentioned that this would explain why the crew didn't use any of the emergency mechanisms.

RELATED: How Did Argentina Lose a Submarine And Its Crew?

Balbi added that information suggests that the submarine could have experienced an implosion, explaining why they haven't found any pieces of the submarine in the sea. They said a sound was detected four hours after the last contact was made with the submarine, which had an electric fault.

Meanwhile, relatives of the officers inside of the submarine in Argentina have strongly criticized the actions of the government and the Navy, saying delays and slow protocol hindered the search. Relatives also stood outside of Navy headquarters, chanting "you lied to us," according to El Pais.

Elena and Federico, the brothers of Cristian David Ibanez, one of the officials inside the ARA San Juan, said they live with pain as they await news on their brother and the rest of the crew.

"We are waiting for a miracle, that our brother appears along with all his crewmates, but I also feel that I am waiting for a wake," said Elena. "I need to hug my brother."

During a visit by President Mauricio Macri to the relatives, they said the application of search protocol was delayed and that the collaboration of other countries should have been accepted days before. The Navy said they complied in time with all protocols in this case.

"If they had accepted the aid as soon as they knew about the communication, they would have already found them," said Ibanez's brother, Federico.

Federico said his brother had sent him pictures from Ushuaia, from where he sailed, and asked his daughter and his wife to wait for him at the Mar del Plata port.

"The anguish of living in uncertainty is the worst," Federico said. "It's impressive that so much time has passed and we still don't know anything".

The relatives await at the Naval Base of Mar del Plata, located in the province of Buenos Aires, where the submarine was expected to arrive between Sunday Nov. 18 and Monday Nov. 19.

RELATED: Argentine Submarine Rescue Hopes Dwindle as New Sound 'Anomaly' Detected

For Psychiatrist Enrique Stein, who leads the support team for the relatives at the base, the situation demands respect and precautions to avoid misinformation.

"At this moment, people suffer the emotional situation based on the cycles of information, which leads to illusions and disappointments, which is logical," Stein said.

Previously, Balbi said one possibility was that the submarine couldn't go afloat and was stranded in the bottom of the sea, or that it could have been navigating on the surface. The submarine was last heard from on Nov. 15 and carried a maximum seven-day supply, a deadline that was met on Wednesday.

"It is a critical situation and the concern is growing. We are all worried, just like the relatives,"


@Armada_Arg Este es el avión C130 de @CanalOficialFAA operando desde la Base Aeronaval Almirante Zar en el marco de las tareas de búsqueda del

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