(Update 1: Adds info that submarine sank)
Jakarta, Apr 24 (EFE).- An Indonesian Navy submarine that disappeared three days ago sank, officials said on Saturday, but they have not lost hope of rescuing some of the vessel’s 53 crew members.
Search teams have found debris from a torpedo, a cooling tube and a prayer rug among other items, indicating that there was a crack in the submarine, head of the Indonesian Navy Yudo Margono told a press conference.
“No ships passed by within a 10-mile radius, so experts believe these objects belonged to KRI Nanggala,” Margono said.
The authorities think that the submarine is now at a depth of some 850 meters, but they are still clinging to increasingly slim hopes of rescuing some of its crew members and are preparing for a possible evacuation mission.
The likelihood of finding any survivors is rapidly diminishing due to depleted oxygen levels in the submarine that went missing during naval exercises three days ago.
The oxygen supply could last for up to five days if the electronic systems are still working, but only three if they do not, Margono said.
The Indonesian navy and coast guards are continuing their underwater search near the island where the 1,300-ton KRI Nanggala 402 submarine, manufactured in 1978 in Germany lost contact.
The US Navy’s Boeing P-8 Poseidon, designed for anti-submarine warfare and vessel interception, was due to aid the search operation on Friday night, but Indonesian authorities have not yet confirmed its arrival.
Australia, India, and Singapore search teams have also been involved in the operation to find the vessel.