Argentina ABANDONS hope of finding survivors on lost submarine ARA San Juan

ARA San Juan: Argentina calls off rescue mission for missing submarine crew but continues search for vessel

The ARA San Juan was ordered back to port, before the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation detected a "hydro-acoustic anomaly", which the navy says could be the noise of the submarine imploding. The search operation for the wreck will continue.

Argentina has called off the rescue operation for its missing submarine 15 days after a reported explosion apparently sent it to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Patagonia, The Guardian reported. The rescuers have allowed for twice the possible time that the crew could have remained alive.

Before the vessel went missing, the crew reported that water had leaked through its "snorkel" onto batteries, according to navy captain Enrique Balbi, spokesman for the search and rescue mission. 44 crew members were on board the vessel.

'It's unusually cruel. Every day, it's a new blow. The captain later communicated by satellite phone that the problem had been contained.

The search for the San Juan has employed some of the latest technology in one of the largest efforts of its kind.

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Balbi said 28 ships, nine planes and 4,000 people from 18 countries were involved in the search covering 557,000 nautical miles; more, including radar monitoring.

A huge sea and air hunt was launched for for the San Juan, a German-built, diesel- and electric-powered submarine which was launched in 1983.

Authorities have said the level of maintenance, not the age, was what mattered, and that the vessel was in good condition. "What they are really saying is that they're not going to be looking for it any more".

At the sub's home naval base in Mar del Plata, relatives were hit hard by Thursday's announcement.

Others took to social media to pay homage to their loved ones. 'He's a hero who must be recognized along with his 43 other crew members.

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