An Indonesian government official on Saturday declared that a 44-year-old submarine that has been out of contact since Wednesday is sunk in the Bali Sea.
Search teams have recovered debris officials believe came from the sub, which had 53 people aboard, according to Reuters.
Adm. Yudo Margono, Indonesia’s naval chief of staff, said searchers have found pieces from Muslim prayer rugs, a bottle of grease used to lubricate the periscope, sponges used for clearing condensation and other items, according to The New York Times.
Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the presence of an oil slick and the debris were proof the KRI Nanggala 402 was lost, according to The Associated Press.
“With the authentic evidence we found believed to be from the submarine, we have now moved from the ‘sub miss’ phase to ‘sub sunk,’” Margono said at a news conference.
Officials said they will continue to seek evidence of how the sub met its end.
“If it’s an explosion, it will be in pieces. The cracks happened gradually in some parts when it went down from 300 meters to 400 meters to 500 meters … If there was an explosion, it would be heard by the sonar,” Margono said.
Even if the hull was still intact, officials had estimated that the crew’s oxygen supply would run out on Saturday.
The going theory is that some type of electrical failure struck the submarine, making it unable to surface.
As a result, officials believe the sub sank to a depth of between 600 and 700 meters, or 2,000 to 2,300 feet. The sub was able to safely withstand pressure at only about 200 meters, or 655 feet, below the surface.
“We are still carrying out the search,” Margono said, according to Reuters. “The depth of the sea we have detected is at 850 metres (2,790 feet), which is very tricky and presents many difficulties.”
“Now it’ll be up to the investigators to establish the chronology of events and determine the cause. At the same time, plans would have been made to assess the feasibility of retrieving the sub at such extreme depth,” Collin Koh, a research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, said.
“It’s technically possible to do it, though I believe Indonesia will have to engage foreign assistance in this.”
Indonesia’s navy on Saturday declared its missing submarine had sunk and cracked open, killing 53 crew members aboard, after finding items from the vessel over the past two days.Indonesia earlier considered the vessel to be only missing. https://t.co/K0jt3sYfHr
— The Manila Journal (@ManilaJournal) April 24, 2021
“It’s very heartbreaking,” Frans Wuwung, a retired seafarer who trained the crew of the submarine, said, according to The Times. “I am devastated.”
On the day of its disappearance, the Nanggala participated in a torpedo drill but missed its target, according to First Adm. Julius Widjojono of the Indonesian Navy.
The submarine was ordered to try again, which it was in the process of doing when it sank, Widjojono said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.