Buenos Aires Times

argentina SUBMARINE TRAGEDY

Navy admiral tells Congress: ARA San Juan 'definitely' imploded

The ARA San Juan disappeared mysteriously in November, 2017 on route to the Naval Base of Mar del Plata. Its remains were discovered one year and one day later, on November 16, 2018.

Wednesday 13 March, 2019
A digital reconstruction of an exploding ARA San Juan.
A digital reconstruction of an exploding ARA San Juan. Foto:File-Perfil

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An Argentine navy admiral said Tuesday that the ARA San Juan submarine "definitely" imploded.

"There was definitely an implosion", Rear Admiral David Burden told a joint Congressional committee hearing, according to a statement from the Senate.

The ARA San Juan disappeared mysteriously in November, 2017 on route to the Naval Base of Mar del Plata. Its remains were discovered one year and one day later, on November 16, 2018.

The remains of the vessel are "in an area of 70 to 75 metre debris", 920 metres below sea level, Burden reported.

He said the submarine "was fine" as it left Ushuaia but began taking in water, which prompted "short circuiting and smoke".

Burden travelled to Eden, Germany on December 1 and 2, to meet with representatives of the company that built the vessel, Thyssen Nordseewerke, to determine the structural situation of the submarine in its current location.

He showed Congress a digital reconstruction of the submarine where he pointed out the areas of the vessel where water is suspected to have entered.

Joining him was Rear Admiral Rafael Pietro, ex commander of the Fleet at the time of the disappearance.

Pietro told Congress that Argentine Navy officials had begun speaking about "a possible implosion"  just days after the disappearance the vessel. He remembered a videoconference with the "commander of the US Souther Command" Kurt Tidd.

"There was never any disagreement with the Russian, US or British commands about what to do" to find the ARA San Juan, he insisted.

Congress' cross-chamber investigative committee was given one year to investigate the incident but request an extension to July 31, which lawmakers in both chambers must now agree upon.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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