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Argentina missing submarine: Navy denies safety claims

Hundreds rallied at the submarine’s naval base on Saturday to support relatives of the missing crew

The Argentinean navy has insisted a missing submarine was in good condition and had passed system safety checks before setting off on a training mission 10 days ago.

Some relatives of the 44 missing crew members had suggested the 34-year-old vessel was in a bad state of repair.

The ARA San Juan last made contact with naval authorities on 15 November.

Hopes of finding survivors are fading among relatives fade despite international search efforts.

“We are at a stage of hope and hopelessness at the same time,” navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said.

“We have to be guided by firm evidence. We are focused on detecting the submarine.”

Enrique Balbi: “If it set off from Ushuaia, it was because it was in condition to do so”

Mr Balbi told a news conference that the submarine had its whole operating system checked two days before setting sail.

“The submarine doesn’t sail if that’s not done. If it set off… it was because it was in condition to do so,” he said.

Relatives gathered at the submarine’s naval base on Saturday to take part in a religious ceremony and were joined by hundreds of supporters.

Some have reportedly begun mourning their loved ones, fearing it is too late for them to be found alive.

On Friday the country’s president said an inquiry would be launched to find out the “truth” after a week of uncertainty and speculation.


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