Indonesia navy chief says missing sub may be at depth of 600-700 meters

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Indonesia’s navy ships on Thursday were  searching for a submarine that likely fell too deep to retrieve, making survival chances for the 53 people on board slim. Neighboring countries rushed their rescue ships to support the complex operation.

The diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a training exercise Wednesday when it missed a scheduled reporting call. Officials reported an oil slick and the smell of diesel fuel near the starting position of its last dive, about 96 kilometers (60 miles) north of the resort island of Bali, though there has been no conclusive evidence that they are linked to the submarine.

Indonesia’s navy chief of staff, Adm. Yudo Margono, told reporters Thursday that oxygen in the submarine would run out by 3:00 a.m. on Saturday. He said rescuers found an unidentified object with high magnetism in the area and that officials hope it’s the submarine.

The navy said it believes the submarine sank to a depth of 600-700 meters (2,000-2,300 feet) — much deeper than its collapse depth estimated at 200 meters (656 feet) by a firm that refitted the vessel in 2009-2012.

Ahn Guk-hyeon, an official from South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, said the submarine would collapse if it goes deeper than around 200 meters because of pressure. He said his company upgraded much of the Indonesian submarine’s internal structures and systems but it lacks latest information about the vessel.