Indonesia’s navy is searching for a missing submarine with 53 people on board as experts warn it may NEVER be found in the mile-deep waters.
The sub went missing early this morning and Indonesia is seeking help from neighbouring Australia and Singapore in the hunt, the country’s military chief said.
The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, was conducting a torpedo drill in waters north of the island of Bali but failed to relay the results as expected, a navy spokesman said.
“We are still searching in the waters of Bali, 60 miles (96 km) from Bali, (for) 53 people,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told Reuters.
The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore.
He said that contact with the vessel was lost at 4.30am on Wednesday.
Former nuclear sub commander Ryan Ramsey warned the missing crew may never be found as the water where they vanished is almost a mile deep.
“If something has happened it is very unlikely that the Nanggala-402 will be found,” the ex-Navy officer told The Sun.
“The fact that she hasn’t touched base during a routine communications window also suggests that she has been lost.”
“Bali is a volcanic island surrounded by very deep water – up to 1,590m – which would hamper the chances of finding survivors.
“If they had a problem during an exercise they would surface.
“So either they’ve not been able to surface the submarine or something very dramatic has happened instantaneously.”
The Indonesian Navy, known as Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut or TNI-AL, sent out a distress call to the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office, reported Janes press agency.
TNI-AL sources said the sub is believed to have disappeared about 26.5 nautical miles northwest off Singaraja on the island of Bali.
The TNI-AL has dispatched several warships to the area, including the hydrographic ship, KRI Rigel (933), for the search.
Other vessels currently on the scene include the TNI-AL’s first-of-class Fatahillah corvette (361), the lead Bung Tomo-class corvette (357), and the Kapitan Pattimura (Parchim I) class corvette, Teuku Umar (385).
The 1,395-tonne KRI Nanggala-402 has been in service since 1981.
It underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012.
Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelago.
But now it has a fleet of only five including two German-built Type 209 submarines and three newer South Korean vessels.